We need each other

Hundreds of Indiana University School of Medicine students, residents and faculty gathered on campus June 3 to stand together for White Coats for Black Lives. – Photo: Liz Kaye

by Corey J. Elder

The coronavirus has affected people all over the world. The virus has impacted and changed lives in ways people never thought would happen.

Most of the health care workers and those on the front lines of the crisis are women. And many of the women on the front lines as health care workers are also mothers. In addition to that, many are mothers, single parents. Women are fighting this pandemic on many levels, both in their professional and personal lives.

This pandemic has created a new vulnerability that many have never experienced. Being uncomfortable and vulnerable are things that many people don’t like and struggle with.

Issues such as race, poverty and inequality are all issues that we would rather not discuss. And because we keep ignoring these issues, they keep coming back to face us in uglier ways.

We want to “Make America Great Again” but exclude those who “we” don’t see or view as “American.” We have chosen to narrowly define what it is to be American, and we are again paying the price.

America keeps going from one crisis and virus to another. And it seems like the more we continue to ignore the crisis and virus, the stronger it keeps coming back.

This current virus is just a continuation of the many viruses that we have ignored. Domestic violence is a virus, sexual abuse and exploitation is a virus, poverty is a virus, mass incarceration is a virus, racism is a virus, and so are many of the other issues we see in America.

Poverty and bad public policy are responsible for the many unfortunate deaths. We have chosen to ignore those most vulnerable.

This pandemic should finally show us all that women deserve equal pay, as they are the main ones on the front lines. This pandemic should show us that our elderly should have better protection, not just from the government, but from the community and especially families. Our children deserve better protection. We are all paying a price for not valuing ALL human life.

It seems that the only cure to the current pandemic is social distancing. It’s ironic that this method would be used as a cure, because it seems like social distancing is partly responsible for the pandemic. We have “socially distanced” ourselves from immigrants, prisoners and anybody we view as the other or different.

And the cure to the current pandemic is more of the same. Americans have been “socially distance” from those marginalized for a long time. But it is different this time. This social distancing comes with a humility and a vulnerability that we have never seen or experienced.

Although part of the cure may be social distancing, we will need each other in ways we never thought. We will have to view and value women differently and all those we undervalued and/or underestimated. Our views, policies, biases, prejudices and hidden motives will again be questioned and confronted. And if we don’t get it right this time, there will be others to come.

Bay View saves lives

To those of us incarcerated, your newspaper is a LIFELINE. Especially during this coronavirus pandemic, we need your newspaper more than ever to give us the TRUTH about this whole situation. We love and need you and thank you for all the work that you do. You are helping save LIVES!

Send our brother some love and light: Corey J Elder F-10489, Folsom State Prison 1-B1-22, P.O. Box 715071, Represa, CA 95671.