Given the unprecedented emergence of Covid-19, communities across the globe have been tasked to face the physical, financial, and social ramifications of the pandemic. Although individuals may be finding themselves being ushered back to normal life, it is clear that there still is a greater unspoken consequence of the coronavirus: the lingering uncertainty of what the future might hold.
On January 29th, following the news of a possible novel outbreak in Wuhan, I traveled from Shanghai back to the United States for precautionary measures. After serving my two-week home quarantine, I felt liberated. Yet, this sensation lasted only for a short period as soon the U.S. began to witness “hot spots,” where a large concentration of people tested positive for the virus. As the number of coronavirus patients began rapidly increasing, I noticed a growing intensity around my local neighborhood. Many households flooded the grocery stores, lining up for hours just to buy essentials. As I walked by these individuals, though they were unfamiliar faces, they shared a common expression: fear.
Fear often brings out the worst in human nature. With each passing day, fear has only grown more palpable in the U.S. Through the incessant news, frightening death toll, and unnatural social distancing, individuals have struggled with isolation, mental health, and financial worries. For a teenager, financial impacts are more theoretical, but the recent reports of racial discrimination have appalled me, including both the discrimination of Asians in the U.S. and of foreigners in Asia. I fall into both categories and am saddened to witness coronavirus fueling racism and hatred, especially when such circumstances have the potential to bring people closer together than ever before.
In response, I decided to create the #ChooseLove campaign to unite our communities during these turbulent times through small acts of kindness. It is vital that we respond with words of inspiration and hope in order to show the human capacity to love. By aspiring to improve mental health and wellbeing in my local community, I am creating postcards of love and encouragement to remind people in my neighborhood that they are not alone and that together we will weather the storm. On social media, #ChooseLove is a call to action for individuals to perform acts of kindness such as a boba for your Bao An or a tip for takeout, because even the smallest action can have a powerful impact.
Article by Isabel Carter, a student in Concordia International School Shanghai's Global Development Studies class