These past several months have been a roller coaster for each and every one of us.
Last year, climate change triggered several protests, discussions and debates. With climate change, everyone appears to have a different perspective, a different outlook on this problem.
But the unforgiving reality is that we created it, and in all honesty, we are afraid of it. And before we could wrap our heads around that problem, the coronavirus pandemic shocked our lives.
A disease that reportedly started with a bat changed our world forever. It became an outbreak, a virus spreading across all cities, all nations and across the entire world. Individuals are getting infected constantly, and the symptoms of this virus can be awful.
COVID-19 may cause respiratory illness. For many older people and those with clinical illnesses, it is likely to create more complications. It has been over six months now, and no one has found a cure.
Over 7 million people were found to be positive with the COVID-19 disease and more than 400,000 people have passed away. But this pandemic is damaging us all: keeping us away from our loved ones, canceling all trips, closing all schools and many more awful things.
People say we need to social distance ourselves and stay away from those with symptoms so we can reduce the spread of COVID-19, but when you watch the news, how many are even trying to do so?
Protests have erupted in at least 140 cities across the United States after an African American man, George Floyd, died in police custody. Floyd was an unarmed man who died after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes as Floyd said to the officer, “I can’t breathe.” Some of the demonstrations have turned violent. But as most people protest peacefully against racism, there have been several instances of further violence by police.
The hashtag #BlackLivesMatter has gone viral. This statement, “Black Lives Matter”, is an international activist movement originating within the African American community, which is campaigning against violence and racism toward black people. Thousands across America, Canada, the United Kingdom and other countries have protested against racism and demanded justice for Floyd and racial equality. People protesting are seen carrying signs that read, “Justice for George Floyd,” “Racism has no place,” “Enough is enough,” and many more as they chant, “No justice, no peace.”
Floyd was only 46 years old. A star American football player in high school, known commonly as “Big Floyd.” This man was a father and a friend to many. But, how did we get here?
The violence in our world is out of control and is hurting thousands of people. Everyone, regardless of what their nationality or race is, has the right to live in peace and happiness, free from all discrimination.
So how should we handle these situations?
The president of the United States, Donald Trump, has been trying to find a cure for those with COVID-19, including suggesting treating those with COVID-19 by injecting a disinfectant into the body. However, injecting disinfectants can actually kill you. So perhaps we could use some better advice?
President Trump seems like he doesn’t want any help from the World Health Organization. “We will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization and redirecting those funds to other worldwide and deserving urgent global public health needs,” President Trump said.
So maybe we can’t rely on leadership. What can you do to help then?
Throughout this crisis, there are things you can do to help support those in need. One thing you can do is donate. Support your community. Some people are donating hand-sewn face masks, while some are donating blood. A decision to donate blood can save a life; it’s a gift. For the time being, try to keep a safe distance from other people. Keep your distance to prevent COVID-19 from being spread.
A solution might be too elusive to find or specify for the racism and police brutality that has been going on during this time, so let’s focus on how to fight for justice for those who suffered police brutality, those whose lives were taken even though they were innocent. And while it is not a solution, there may be ways to make things better.
The lives taken as a result of police brutality are irreplaceable. We must work toward ensuring that no families are given the information that sadly their innocent family member has had their life taken based on race or ethnicity. Make this world a brighter place for everyone.
To everyone everywhere. We must put our differences aside. We're all human. We have the same core values. Instead of going out of your way to make it someone else's fault, just come together by embracing the ideas of everyone and combining them so everyone will benefit. Accept that all colors are beautiful. We are all the same. We are worth the same.
Erica Pandi and Dakota Hanna are respectively a high school student and a middle school student at Jakarta Intercultural School.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.