Thank You to Those Who Stepped Up & A Letter to the Future Generations
By: Mia Neally
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to confront the deadly underbelly of our deeply divided nation. With over 200,000 COVID-19 related deaths and over 10 million cases in the United States alone, we’re still far from controlling the spread of the virus (1). While contact-tracing and stringent quarantine policies have significantly reduced the number of cases in countries like South Korea and New Zealand (2)(3), the United States has been preoccupied with anti-maskers debating the legitimacy of science and prioritizing business over preventing the loss of human lives.
Saying “2020 has been challenging” is not only an understatement but moreover could be misconstrued as a problem confined to a singular year. Some of the problems we have faced have existed long before this year, only to be exposed during a once-in-a-century health crisis that has severely impacted many already vulnerable people. According to PewResearch Center, “not only is income inequality rising in the U.S., it is higher than in other advanced economies (4).” And whilst many have fought to keep hold of their homes, jobs, and lives, millionaires have still managed to accrue half a trillion dollars during the pandemic (5).
Affordable housing has continued to dwindle as gentrification pushes current residents out of their neighborhoods through uncapped rent increases and evictions without a just-cause (6). Although this problem has existed for years, during these times, only short term solutions of stimulus checks and eviction moratorium could prevent the catastrophe of mass evictions, with said solutions unable to amend the driving forces of a system that disenfranchises lower-income households.
In addition to the global pandemic, incidents including one of the most hotly debated U.S. presidential election of our lifetimes, the unjust murder of black individuals like Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Ahmaud Arbery, and the everpresent problem of climate change rearing its ugly head in the form of the most hurricanes in a season (7), have continued to remind us of the role politics and legislative change have on reforming the criminal justice system and climate sustainability for years to come.
Yet during the darkest times, even the faintest lights shine bright. Although not enough to fix the fundamental issues that plague this nation, we’ve seen unity in advocacy during times of uncertainty. The Black Lives Matter movement has shaped our discussion towards reforming the systems that uphold institutional racism. The mantra of supporting local businesses has also surged to help combat the strain that restaurants and other small businesses have been incurring through this year. Compared to the first six months of last year, charitable giving in the first half of 2020 increased by almost 7.5%, with a 19.2% increase for those who gave less than $250 (8), showing our willingness to mobilize and contribute to the well-being of our nation despite our own personal hardships during these tough times.
As our society adapts to the new norm of social distancing and working from home, it’s vitally important to remember that these problems do not disappear after the virus is contained. Society needs continued advocacy and support for the issues that are most pressing. We are grateful for people who help Texas Homeless Network and other non-profit agencies that have worked tirelessly to make our society a better place. Thank you to our donors, volunteers, and anyone who’s stepped up and gotten involved in the community this year and for years to come.
Your humanity shows us that the future is bright.