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Perspective: We Must Do Better Than Normal

Winnebago County Health Department
Winnebago County COVID-19 cases by ethnicity, as of May 17

The air is filled with spin words about “opening up and going back to normal.”

The coronavirus, like Katrina and other disasters, has put a bright light on what is broken in our country. A fragile food system. Overcrowded prisons. Or how Hispanics and African Americans are always the most vulnerable in times of disaster and every day.

The percentage of people who have died who are black or Hispanic is twice as high as the number of people who are white.

This is an opportunity to not return to “normal” but to make permanent structural changes. This is a time to realize that the structures of inequality in America are what’s exacerbating the effects of this pandemic. When an event brings everything to a stop it provides a time to go in a new direction. A direction that will lead to permanent change in the conditions of inequality.

I believe this is possible because I have witnessed firsthand what is best about the human spirit. I have seen people spend hours in all kinds of weather distributing food. Or who have taken time, and risk to do an elderly blind man’s laundry because he was afraid to leave his apartment.

People, pushed to extreme situations have ways of doing things that seem impossible. People figure out ways to go up against powers and trends that have until certain points in history been unshakable. Now is such a time and we are the people who are capable to seize it and use it as an opportunity to bend the arch of time a little more toward justice.

I’m Dan Kenney and this is my perspective

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