In my third grade Social Studies class, I learned the building blocks of which would form my secret love of sociology.
I learned that people make up either families (nuclear and extended), social groups and those groups make up communities. I remember being taught that communities are these dynamic means of social support, resources and networks. In these perilless times, community has never been more important! Now, your community must become more dynamic than it ever has been.
The most interesting thing about this time period is community, and the idea of it is both being redefined and reshaped. A community before may have been a block or a hood, or even a certain part of the city you either group up in or now live. Yet, in the time of COVID and pandemics, that definition has now grown to include the people that deliver groceries, still running Uber/Lyft–and even where to get haircuts and your head did in the middle of all of this (shouts to the COVID Kitchen beauticians and barbers!). It has also defined what and who we see as support–and how to even work around them when their access is limited. I personally have not hugged my mother since February. Yet what this pandemic is showing and teaching me the need to build community outside of family relationships!
I have had to think different like about how I interact with the people I work with, my support system out of state, even the people I worship with! I find myself having to think about how I can help this community I am both building am being called into! I am looking at who I know with what skills to get a simple need met or to start a project to help my community on a larger scale! I am looking at how and why the people whom I thought I could rely on in crises are nowhere to be found now! What I am stunned at is readiness of people whom are already doing so much–willing to anticipate the growing needs this pandemic presents! There is a power in that find of resourcefulness–and I champion it!
Community is not this archaic concept–it is a survival tool! I look at the stories my grandmother and aunts told about them growing up and they take on new meaning–they are a map of sorts. They are a way of reminding me that there are worst things which have happened to people I love and are descended from–and they made it. And they MADE it. Someone could cook. Someone could read. Someone new math. Someone cut hair. Someone had a car! Someone knew how to do hair or sew! Someone knew who was hiring or how to get out of town when need be!
We knew how to make it, man!
It is with this roadmap, fueled by compassion, that reminds me that we–ALL OF US–are going to make it. We are going to make it. One minute, one day, one connection at a time. Just think of the wealth of knowledge we–the survivors of COVID-19!–will have once we come out of this! We are the new ancestors, and we need to act accordingly.