Time has felt elastic since the pandemic began – simultaneously interminable yet impossibly fleeting. The resurgence of racial violence (including modern-day lynchings), endless news cycle, presidential election (in the US), and a US president that is provoking the alt-right daily has added a layer of tension to what had become daily pandemic life. And, although many locations are re-opening, the number of daily COVID19 cases are rising across the nation. 2020 is the longest century.
We’re taking things one day at a time:
Rose: I rode my bike to an appointment downtown and to stop in the office since it is an ozone action day. I’m probably going to try getting back on the bus for my appointment next week, but for this week it felt more normal to ride. I didn’t want to drive because of the air quality and being responsible. The cultural districts still have streets closed for social distancing on bike and by foot while allowing restaurants more outdoor seating places. I saw two of them and it was interesting. There were Keep Indianapolis Beautiful groups working on maintaining the rain gardens and mulching some areas. Restaurant staff were also working on setting up and sprucing up outside for the weekend. The trails (Monon and Cultural Trail) had a lot of people. But the vehicle traffic was still pretty sparse.
Going to the clinic was good, there weren’t many people there and I was in/out for a blood draw. My office building is very controlled and separated between public and staff. My floor is still very empty. I was in/out of the office pretty fast as I was just picking up a document. It was a little strange not to have been in my office in three months. After that I went across to the City Market and got an açaí bowl. Pretty limited people in the market. Nearly everyone wearing a mask. I took my bowl outside to take my mask off and eat. I did notice that some buildings still have boards, some have boards with murals, but not all of them. Mass Ave had its typical rainbow vibe going on for Pride Month. Everything seemed like a calm, slow, holiday without a tourist level of “normal.” There are protests and chalk art continuing to push the issues around systemic racism and police brutality/killing, but it has taken on a collaborate to make progress tone overall from what I felt. I haven’t been downtown at night, and while there have been demonstrations outside the homes of prominent people in the city, the closest I’ve seen evidence of was several blocks away I saw some street art while out on a run. Nothing is normal, but it seemed less tense on all fronts until Friday morning, I learned someone chemically burned a cross into the grass at the Indiana Black Expo headquarters on Juneteenth. The blatant racism is still happening, let alone the more subtle kind.
Ellen: This week I was asked to attend two parties, both of which I politely declined. Many of my friends and family are sharing stories of reunions and events they plan on attending soon. Not much has changed in our household compared to March. I still do not feel comfortable going into stores, yet I am now following the Auto-Immune Protocol diet and need as much fresh produce as I can get. This led me to a food delivery service I felt good about supporting: Imperfect Foods. They supply sustainably sourced food that is typically rejected by grocery stores and would otherwise go to waste. It’s reasonably priced and delivered to my door in recyclable packaging.
Laura: Another week where the only reminder of COVID19 is on the news and from my mother, a nurse, who reports on the cases rising each week. I still don’t go out much except to grocery shop and train; next week, I have to go to some much-delayed and needed medical appointments. Everywhere, at least in their pre-appointment messaging, has outlined precautions that feel safe: face covering, temperature at the door, and social distancing inside. I’m at a point where I can’t continue to escape going to the doctor for as long as I have, but it feels scary to have to risk COVID infection for healthcare for a chronic (but not urgent) condition. I’m not worried about myself getting COVID, although perhaps I should be, but I am very worried about infecting others if I were to get it.
Thinking about racial justice and my personal work toward becoming an anti-racist, I’ve been working through Me and White Supremacy for our virtual book club and reading How to be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi on my own. When the protests began, tensions were high at home as we navigated conversations about protests and race. We (at home) have done a lot of talking about racial justice, our feelings, what we are observing, and how racial privilege has impacted our lives. This situation has been a quick primer in how to be better at difficult conversations about race. Right now, I’m focusing on learning how to be anti-racist, a better ally, and how I can do both in a sustainable fashion. Change isn’t going to happen overnight, and it is going to take sustained effort from all of us, but especially white people, to achieve racial equity.
How is the world shifting and changing where you are?