I ended my 2019 doing two things I love, dancing and eating from a seafood buffet. I love seafood and dancing so much that I remember thinking 2020 was going to be the best year EVER, and this last night of 2019 was letting me know to be ready for a great year.
What I didn’t see in advance or know was that 2020 would be a whole HOT MESS! With our president killing an Iranian leader, possibly starting a war in January. The world mourning the death of Kobe Bryant in February. March and April introduces the quarantine lifestyle, a world pandemic, and Carol Baskin. People begin to get restless and states open prematurely in May. June is filled with a nation wide protest of police brutality and the reminder that BLACK LIVES MATTER.
All this happened in a span of 6 months. The most interesting part is that this is many peoples normal, especially since our presidential election of 2016. None of this is new to America. Now this may be new to some people who have lived with the kind of privilege that has allowed them to remain uneducated, ignorant and unaware of the injustices that have plagued this Nation, however this is not new. The last 6 months have done a great job exposing America's weak spots. Here I discuss only three, but there are so much more. Let’s dig in.
This pandemic exposed the problem within our health care. In March when states decided to begin the quarantine we all heard, “we need to curve the line,” what does that actually mean? This means that our Nation did not have enough resources to handle thousands of people going to hospitals to be treated at one time. Resources are supplies, enough employees, space, etc. Keep in mind, the employees are putting themselves in high risk going into work everyday because of COVID-19 and they did not receive a pay increase, PTO, and some even had longer hours. Our healthcare system can only handle so many sick patients at a time. Healthcare brings in over a TRILLION dollars to the economy, but receives 17% of government financial support in 2017 alone.
This pandemic exposed the problem within our economy. The wages we are paying people and how many people viewed government money/support. So many people have lost their jobs or had a decrease in hours and now are eligible for unemployment. In the past there has been a negative stigma for people who benefited from unemployment, judging the people by saying they just wanted a hand out, they were lazy, unprofessional, or even untrained and uneducated. Now that so many people are unemployed, which varies by zip code and ethnic groups, people have changed their thoughts on it. Not to mention that many people are making more money now on unemployment then they were when they were working a full time job. Many people were not making livable wages.
This pandemic exposed the systemic racism that has plagued our nation since before its inception. For centuries Black people have been oppressed. For centuries Indigenous peoples lifestyles and cultures have been suppressed. And so many people are now awakened to the systems in place that have oppressed Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) while elevating White people and upholding Euro-centric ways of thinking. This pandemic has disproportionately affected BIPOC communities with Black men and women being murdered by police, Indigenous communities unable to receive the support from local, state, and federal government because of their nations, even though WE STOLE THEIR LAND, and so many Latinx folk still being arrested and detained while borders remain closed to America.
It is such a crazy time to live, America is leading in the numbers of COVID cases, Black Lives Matter Protest are still filling our streets. Our leaders have been ignoring us for far too long, they have overlooked the system because of its elevation of the elite and have closed their eyes to the people. I am optimistic though, I believe that real change and transformation can come from this, but it will take people coming together and demanding more. The fight is not over, we have such great momentum, and that is why this movement is so necessary during this pandemic.