The world of the COVID-19 pandemic has been a blur – for some more than others, but a confusing mess of anxiety, social distancing, and financial struggle nonetheless. It’s easy to get lost scrolling through NYT live updates or any of the other grim articles strewn across the Internet. A multitude of struggles define this horrific pandemic: millions are filing for unemployment, period poverty is rampant, and healthcare workers are putting their lives on the line, spending long hours battling the coronavirus at its frontlines.
Our goal is to create a repository of stories during this time of crisis – shining light on the experiences of people living around the world, and featuring our local community in Washington. We will include the perspectives of people from all walks of life to capture the widespread and disparate impacts of COVID-19.
Our purpose is twofold:
The current pandemic is a watershed for the global community. To some extent, the world seems to have transformed for the worse: hate crimes against Asian Americans (as well as those phenotypically prescribed as “Asian”) have spiked, countries are shifting from pluralism to isolationism, and the world economy is tipping into disaster. However, as Ed Yong writes for the Atlantic, “A communal spirit, ironically born through social distancing, [has caused] people to turn outward, to neighbors both foreign and domestic.” We hope that our collection of stories will aid in this effort. Through understanding each other’s perspectives, we can not only engage in more sensitive, thoughtful civic discourse, but formulate ideas to give back to our local, national, and international communities (Check out this page to find some amazing nonprofits).
Stories are a coping mechanism for these difficult times. Allowing ourselves to express our greatest hopes and fears through art and literature can help ground us amidst turmoil. For many of the more fortunate, the resource of time has transformed from being rare to bountiful. Space has opened up for deep reflection. Therefore, we are not only reaching out to healthcare workers, shelter managers, and others with a story to share, but also to the students themselves. We wish to hear your thoughts on how the pandemic has reoriented your thinking, caused you to take up something new, etc. A snapshot of our day-to-day lives may even prove useful to historians in the future!