18 Aug Community Voices: “Resilience and Perseverance”
By Greg Robertson
“Community Voices” is a series of blog posts to elevate community voices, especially those of people of color. We invited individuals, without stipulations or rules, to submit their writings and we paid them for their time. We wanted to offer this space for them to share a first person account of what the last six months has been like for them. We value their thoughts and ideas. The content in this blog post is a reflection of the personal and professional experiences of the writer. The views and opinions of the guest contributors are their own. To contact the author, please see the end of the piece.
Every person in the world is born with certain advantages and disadvantages. Some are dealt cards by life that are worse than others. Although each individual has unique differences such as their economic status, race, sexuality, gender, and social status, we all have some things in common. For example, everyone has anxious thoughts. Thoughts where we are convinced that if it were to occur then we would die, or not know what to do. Fortunately, even if those scenarios or something similar happens, we are still breathing afterward. There will always be obstacles in life that will seem almost impossible to conquer. Ultimately, it has to be you to decide how you want to respond to a challenge.
The moment I realized that it was up to me to be resilient happened years ago. It is still fresh in my mind. Blinding white clouds strayed the seemingly infinite sky. Although each cloud’s beginning, journey, and the end seemed random and chaotic when viewed individually, they were in perfect harmony when viewed from afar. I was on my way to 4th grade P.E. I had just completed my daily “check-in” with some of the other kids. Usually, these “check-ins” consisted of 2 parties.
Party 1: Big, Mean, Strong
Party 2: Me
The check-in consisted mostly of callous, although admittedly creative, insults and sometimes bodily harm. Usually, although not always, they ended in my feelings and pride being hurt. For some reason, Party 1 was exceptionally creative and vulgar which left me plodding into P.E. with my head low as tears slowly escaped from my eyes and down my face. As I sat down in my designated spot I felt weighed down by all of the eyes that were focused on me. I realized that all of those kids were watching me cry. Right there, I decided that I wouldn’t be the one that everyone else just watched cry. I would be the one to push on and help others.
Do What You Can
We being forced to suffer through the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of us, however, have been dealt cards that have enabled us to place ourselves in better positions than others. Positions that let us apply ourselves to our communities and help others who are in the worst positions like the elderly, people below the poverty level, the sick, and people who are physically or mentally disabled.
Throughout the pandemic, I have worked with others including my mom to provide cleaning supplies, personal hygiene products, food, and facial masks to people who need them. We helped organize networks of people who all worked together to create masks. Life is an inalienable right in our country, and if something like a mask can decrease someone’s possibility of sickness and death then they ought to have one.
It is immensely saddening and disheartening to see people in so much pain and suffering and they have no assistance. People are needlessly suffering and dying when others are in positions to help those people, if they choose to do so.
How Will You Help Others?
This is what I have decided to do with my position and the cards that I was dealt. You must decide what you want to do. You must decide how you will persevere through this troubling time and what you will do to help others!