The Power of Community Grows During a Pandemic

Community gives us strength

The idea of community conjures up a sense of closeness, what we have in common, and a sharing. Borders – whatever separates us – fall away and we think of how we support and care for each other within that community. Community is a resource of strength for us as we cope with the very act of living.

031620 Community

We need such reassurance during this time as the coronavirus pandemic has exploded across nations. Borders (be they geographic, political, gender, or nationality) don’t matter to this contagious virus. It attacks us all, though it seems to prefer the aged and less resilient. Panic sets in and extreme cautionary measures are taken by everyone to ensure our safety and to limit its spread and rate of mortality. We need to know we’re here for each other, that we have each other’s back. We’re in this together! It’s time to put politics aside.

Everyone has a role to play

As we react to the covid-19 virus threat, we are reminded to wash our hands, to refrain from touching our own faces, to not shake hands, to keep our distance from others, and to sanitize every surface with which we may touch.

We expect our government agencies to kick in and protect us as best they can. We look to our medical experts for advice, for testing, and for care. We rely upon and demand that the leadership of whatever group with which we may associate to make prudent adjustments. Schools and places of worship close. Meetings are cancelled or take to the Internet to preserve our distances and limit exposure. Congregating in large groups is discouraged. Our lives slow down.

Community kindnesses emerge

What we may not expect are the many acts of kindness and caring that emerge. Here are some examples:

CNN reports that while the NBA has cancelled its games, some of the players help support the many vendors and maintenance crews that depend on the pay and revenue they receive at the sporting events. Nice!

Jason Del Rey reports in Vox that Amazon will support local businesses:

This week, Amazon said it was establishing a $5 million fund to help Seattle small businesses — like bars, restaurants, and food trucks — offset the sales they’ve lost from that work-from-home decree and help them pay employees.

These are examples of community. You may witness or hear of many others during this time of global crises. We become mindful of those around us.

Personal neighborhood community is caring

I was reminded of how close community can be, how immediate it is in my own personal life a few days ago when I opened my email. We live on a short two-block street that ends in a cul-de-sac. The neighbor next door had sent out an email to everyone on our street telling all of us that they are here for us. If we should succumb to the virus, they are willing to run errands, walk dogs, or even put out the weekly garbage cans for us – whatever it takes!

My neighbor’s generous offer shows an unusual kind of caring and leadership. Within minutes of receiving the email, others joined in with their own willingness to volunteer, should the need arise. Humbled, I also joined this community action in a way not considered before. It was a connection that was reassuring and I realized what a wonderful neighborhood it I live in. It’s evidence of a neighborhood amenity that is never found on a “For Sale” sign when homes are sold. I’m proud of my neighbors – this special community.

Be thankful for your communities

Folks – there’s a silver lining among the dread and fear we face with the pandemic. We have each other. We care for each other. Our communities (all of us belong to several) now exercise the call to pull together to support and care and connect with each other. That’s a special reality and strength and resource for which we should not only be grateful, but should celebrate.

We need to give thanks to and for each other.

In the coming months as the political realities that serve up heavy portions of rancor and divisiveness, we need to remember that we’re better than what we may see. We’re better than what we may hear. We’re better than what the polls may say or what the headlines declare or what political leaders may claim.

We are community!

Stay well, my friends. Rest well, eat well, wash your hands, and remember one another. Remember your communities and be thankful for them.

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By Jerry Spriggs and the Equal Voice Voting Team

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