By Sue Tiffin
WHEN THE weight of the world feelsheavy it makes us want to retreat turn off the news andtry to live in a blissful ignorance if the matters of the daydon’t seem to affect our own lives directly.
But we are all affected when injusticeharms our fellow humans. We get angry we get frustrated wefeel heartbroken and we want to help.
In these times when in so many wayswhat we can do to help is to stay home we can feel even morehelpless. But action can still be taken in our own communityand we can make good use of our rage and hurt and fear byfunnelling it into action.
The state of many long-term carehomes in Ontario due to lack of funding inadequatestaffing and poor organization has long been exposed byadvocates who have worked toward correcting our failure incaring for our elders. The spread of COVID-19 throughoutOntario has seen the majority of deaths caused by thevirus involve long-term care residents – withheartbreaking stories being shared with us from as close asBobcaygeon – and will lead to an independent inquiry. Wecan use our voices to demand this type of investigation ofour provincial government and listen to residents families andstaff to make immediate changes toward progress and betterliving conditions.
As the province reopens we can supportlocal businesses now. Rather than reacting after the fact tostories of local shops that have had to close their doors dueto the hardship caused by COVID-19 restrictions take action now toshop locally especially with those who you know have donetheir utmost to protect the community while protecting theirlivelihood by adapting with curbside service.
Leaving the communityto shop elsewhere or ordering packages in from afar doesn’tjust increase the chance of spreading the virus fromone place to another it means one less sale for yourneighbours and friends who have worked hard to pivot.Challenge friends to support a different business eachweek or invite a dozen people you know to spend what they canat a local shop and make a great difference in doing so.
Even from home we can raise our voicesin support against systemic racism and violence. We can sharenews and stories as our American friends take part in arevolution against anti-black racism and we can also condemn thesame racial injustice that happens here in Canada. Take a lookat your own racism as uncomfortable a process as that canbe. Learn more so you can do more. June is Indigenoushistory month. Read the Truth and Reconciliation calls toaction five years old this year if you haven’t yet –ask questions as to what has been done thus far. Pause tolisten to those who have been hurt to understand theirpain. Donate to organizations that are helping make changehappen. Lead by example with your kids and yourgrand kids even if that means you have to speak up to youruncle at Thanksgiving dinner. Use your space online to help raise thevoices of the oppressed as an ally – speak up when someone youknow posts something that isn’t helpful and when thestories you hear become overwhelming write letters to yourleaders to ask why and force change. Sharing is importantbut using your own privilege to elevate voices at another levelis essential and is a way you can use your voice for truemovement.
Feeling helpless at these timescan cause great stress for so many but getting involvedworking together and taking action even in small ways to makethings better and make things right for all in our communityleads to the change that can make our story a good one.