Time for ChangeMar 01, 2021 03:18PM ● By Shannon Mc Kenzie
On Friday, I unexpectedly found myself at an Uptown intersection surrounded by Tent City. It then occurred to me that Friday was the county’s deadline for the people living there to vacate due to a rodent infestation. I’d read in the newspaper that shelter options would be provided, but I still wondered how people would manage to pick up and leave so quickly. I drive to Uptown a couple times a month, and I noticed several months ago that more tents were popping up with every trip I made. It disturbed me—but even more disturbing, I think, is how quickly I got busy and forgot all about it. It took too many Uptown trips to serve as reminders.
Today there are so many things to grieve. Half a million deaths from COVID in the United States alone, lives upended from job loss due to the shutdown and extreme weather events, political discord and divisiveness . . . These are extraordinary times, yet to a certain degree, much of the insecurity Americans are experiencing is nothing new; it’s just so much more visible how many of us live this way. It’s overwhelming. I know I can donate to organizations that help fill the gaps—and I am so thankful for the many people and organizations that do— but it is obvious that there’s an urgent need to address these issues collectively and sustainably. That individuals making a donation and then moving on with their lives just isn’t going to cut it.
I know I’m all over the place, but I’ll bet I’m not alone. I’m sure a lot of us don’t like the societal problems we’re seeing. But it’s also important not to miss the beautiful things that have come out of our current situation, such as a deeper appreciation for our connections with family and friends. And it’s encouraging to think that a time like this, when everything we know has been turned upside down, is also a great opportunity for change: We see a need and we’re more open to doing things differently, versus sticking to the comfort of the status quo. So let’s start making changes. The need is too important for us to get busy and forget.
Wishing you the pursuit of more sustainable solutions this March,