By Justin Foxton
On the 5th June, a poem was posted on Instagram by a 23-year-old soul and writer by the name of Lesley Dwight. It immediately went viral with various news networks picking up on it. When I first read it, I was very moved because it was – and still is – the nearest I have come to a piece that succinctly articulates the questions that Covid-19 is asking of us:
What if 2020 isn’t cancelled
What if 2020 is the year we’ve been waiting for?
A year so uncomfortable, so painful, so scary, so raw
that it finally forces us to grow
A year that screams so loud
finally awakening us from our ignorant slumber
A year we finally accept the need for change
Work for change
Become the change
A year we finally band together
pushing each other
2020 isn’t cancelled
but rather the most important year of them all.
An invitation to action
The invitation is for us to stop waiting to act – for good. What does this mean practically for you and me as we get about our daily lives, easing gently almost imperceptibly back into the old normal?
How do we hold bravely onto the vestiges of a precious space and a context that is calling for a brave reassessment of our most fundamental attitudes, beliefs and behaviours? Have we shifted? Have we listened?
What is my contribution?
On a global scale, we are seeing seismic shift. What if this shift was individualised; radiating out in ripples from our being. What would happen? There has been a renewed focus on gender-based violence; a major focus on our deep levels of inequality, a real anxiety on hunger, a considerable concern for job losses – all rampant pandemics in our country.
What is our individual response to these issues? What is mine to do?
This pandemic has seen one of the most intense and sustained campaigns against racism since the civil rights movement. What does this ask of us? What is mine to do?
As research begins to emerge that Covid-19 binds to molecules of air pollution, we are being awakened to the realities of a planet in dire need of a sustained breather. What could my contribution be to this breather? What is mine to do?
One type of virus has catalysed mass-scale awareness of others and the response is commensurate and appropriate.
Will I declare change – to my left and to my right. Will I be the one who doesn’t allow this crisis to be wasted?
The first step
This can begin right away with a commitment to one small action each day, above-and-beyond anything else you may already be doing. Buy something you don’t need because it will put food on a family’s table. Employ someone to do something that you could just as easily do yourself.
Read an article that challenges your beliefs on social issues. If you have more money than you need – give some of it away.
The mask we wear against the physical virus as an act of care for one another, should become a daily, conscious symbol; a ritual that triggers the thought: “What can I do today to create small ripples that shift the world?”
To declare change, we must take a micro-step.
What will yours be?
This article is sponsored by Partners for Possibility (www.pfp4sa.net