How COVID-19 Has Dramatically Revealed Resources That Should Have Always Been Available To Us
My student loans could have been frozen years ago.
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Last week, as I finished ordering my yoga mat from Amazon and engaging in an Instagram Live concert thrown by Chloe x Halle, I began to organize the rest of my week indoors. After a while, the thought began to dawn on me: Why haven’t we had access to Instagram Live concerts before?
Demi Lovato has performed in her own home for the new #FallonAtHome thing they’ve got going on, and Skip Marley, H.E.R. and Jennifer Hudson have been participating in Global Citizen’s latest efforts, #TogetherAtHome.
You mean to tell me that I could have had access to Swae Lee, John Legend and Mariah Carey at the push of a button years ago, but it took a visit from Miss Rona to give it to me? Amid the coronavirus outbreak, concert cancellations swept the nation, but as they say in show business, “the show must go on.”
If you need a full list of every artist you can live stream in your living room during quarantine, you can check it out here, but let’s backtrack a bit. To me, this is a prime example of how the government, communal resources and the entertainment industry have been shortchanging us throughout the course of our lives, but magically show up to be Bionic Bunny when mankind is slowly dying from intense fevers and lung failure.
As a lower-middle class 24-year-old Black woman from the projects of Brooklyn, I know that, solely, my socioeconomic and financial well-being hasn’t been on the forefront of the government’s agenda — and that’s fine. What’s not fine is when there are hundreds of thousands of others like me in my city — in my state — who are on the same playing field as myself and are suffering the way I’m suffering with no attention brought to it. What’s worse is when the whole world is in shambles (where some are dead, a handful are dying, and the majority of the world is fearful of having a body temperature that exceeds 99 degrees Fahrenheit, alongside job lost or being forced to work from home) stipends and relief funds are deemed a necessity.
Bottom line, COVID-19 is showing a lot of people’s true colors, including our wonderful government led by Number 45. In the words of the late Maya Angelou, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” Believe me when I say, you don’t have to look that hard — the colors are splattered all over the canvas.
Let’s talk about how I’ve come across a multitude of stories about how Black teens, college students and mothers are dying because they were waiting for and were refused immediate assistance. Lack of urgency, my ass. I don’t believe that anyone is just going to walk into an emergency room because of a runny nose if we weren’t in a COVID-19 pandemic, and the condition of a young Black boy or an eldery Black woman or a pregnant Black girl isn’t as urgent to you as the care of Grandpa Billy and Aunt Susan, right? This sounds about white.
Our children could have been provided with laptops and free WiFi the entire time, but we need to send a message and keep our children in the schools and off these streets, right? College students could have been graced with a frozen interest rate on student loans forever ago, but like J.G. Wentworth, it’s their money and they need it now. Evictions in hard times could have been delayed and stalled, but who cares about a single parent with three kids on welfare and food stamps when the rent isn’t paid, right? To hell with them.
We should not have had to turn the face of a fatal pandemic to recognize that our government could have been operating in a plethora of different ways, but because we are being governed through an ends-based framework, we never considered the sensible option to be the first one.
I could go on forever, but then this essay would become a novel. Our economy and, dare I say, the president of this country could have allowed bill payments to be furloughed, co-pays to be waived and stores to be opened early for seniors, but they didn’t. We, as a nation, waited until it was too late and jobs were being snatched away from us to develop a call-to-action strategy suitable for times like this.
Maybe this wouldn’t have happened had Mr. White Toupee and Orange Skin over there in the White House didn’t fire the pandemic response team back in 2018. #ImJustSaying