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What the Pandemic Reveals–the Second of Four Conversations

Photo by ATC Comm Photo from Pexels

What values might be essential for dealing with the pandemic?

In your experience of the coronavirus pandemic, what values do you personally find essential? What values or concerns could, or should, inform the ways our society deals with the pandemic? What values might guide our attempts to emerge from the pandemic? These questions animated the second of four Virtual Concerts and Conversations. You’ll find a summary of the participants’ thoughts below.

Interested in adding your ideas? You can sign up here for the third session on April 30, 12:30-2:00 pm EDT (notes from the first session are here). We’ll start with a live-streamed musical performance and then break into small-group facilitated conversations. The series, conducted via Zoom, is a collaboration of Culture Saves, the DC Office on Aging, IONA, and the Interactivity Foundation. 


Values and Concerns

  • Care for others, empathy, and gratitude
    • Care and thanks for each moment, accepting each day as a gift
    • Care and thanks for neighbors (getting to know more of them now)
    • Care and thanks for all the workers keeping things going (like in grocery stores)
    • Care and thanks for all persons, since the pandemic reveals we’re all in this together, in our communities, around the country, and around the globe
    • Sustain this sense of interdependence and caring after the pandemic
    • Expand our ethical horizons to care for more of the world, to see perspectives and needs we have been overlooking
  • Human connection, social interaction, and the need to bridge social isolation
  • Solitude and the desire for personal space (especially when you’re shut in with others)
  • Individual freedom and concerns that the pandemic will curb our individual liberties
  • The internet and communication technology
    • Essential for enabling human connection during the pandemic
    • Essential for enabling education during the pandemic
    • Bridge the digital divide: if internet access is essential for equitable participation in society, then we shape policy so it’s treated like a public utility or service where all have public access (like public roads)
  • Communication and access to reliable information
    • The pandemic reveals how important it is for everyone to have access to reliable information
    • When communication is so vital for dealing with the pandemic, we need to address unequal access to the means of communication
  • Equality and countering inequities in society
    • Inequitable access to technology for education reveals the unequal access to quality education
    • The pandemic reveals how we segment healthcare and education by racial and class status
    • Institutional racism compounds negative health effects of the pandemic
    • Economic disparities compound negative effects of pandemic: those most vulnerable by socio-economic status are most at risk
      • Reports of frontline workers (EMTs) who lack health insurance
    • The pandemic reveals that we are all at risk when we don’t protect and take care of those most at risk
    • What’s the value of capitalism in light of the pandemic? How useful is it to us?
    • What if we had universal basic income to help everyone get by?
    • What if there were a right to a job, so that all who wanted to work, could?
  • Public health and safety
    • The pandemic reveals the need for a just and universal system that meets the health needs of all
    • Concerns about addressing the primary and secondary health effects of the pandemic and from the shutdown
  • Economic wellbeing
    • Concerns about addressing the negative economic effects of the pandemic—and from the shutdown
  • Psychological health
    • Focus on managing our expectations for the uncertain timeframe of the pandemic
    • Practice affirmation, patience, and being in the moment: “then the present is a real present
  • Food and agriculture
    • The pandemic reveals the fragility of our food and agriculture system
    • Problems for equitable affordable access to quality food for all sectors of society
    • Weakness of relying on immigrant labor while not addressing their healthcare and economic needs
    • Many agricultural workers are undocumented and receive no economic or health protections from our governmental efforts, yet our food supply depends on them
  • Housing and shelter
    • Concerns about the links of health with housing security and housing types
    • Increased risks for those in high density housing (consider nursing homes and apartment buildings)
  • Mobility and transportation
    • The pandemic has revealed fragility of delivery and transportation systems
    • Those dependent on public transit are more at risk from contagion
    • Lack of mobility now can make us more aware of others who always face mobility challenges
  • Science, research-based policy, and access to reliable information
  • Political leadership and competency
    • Concerns about the national government being unprepared and lacking in leadership
    • Appreciation for leadership rising up from grass-roots, with volunteers and bottom-up leadership and competency
    • The pandemic reveals the value of International political collaboration: we can’t address the pandemic as an isolated national issue
    • The value of being more open to other countries and recognize our interdependence
  • Diversity and creativity
    • Value creative problem solving, which is more likely to come from a diversity of perspectives
    • Address our cultural biases, question our values, and be more open to other perspectives