With Independence Day occurring at a tumultuous time marked by a global pandemic and a national crisis over racial injustice, Climate gave local contributors carte blanche to write their perspectives on what makes America special. We will be publishing our contributors’ American Stories now through July 4. Keep an eye out for these unique and personal pieces.
Ever since our nation‘s founding, part of the character of Americans includes the strength to stand with broad shoulders during times of challenge. We quickly assess the situation and do what we can do.
The year 2020 has brought a crisis for our modern age: a truly global health epidemic. Covid-19 is causing everyone to adjust our behavior patterns to meet the challenges of this crisis.
Unfortunately, to control the spread of the virus, it has been necessary to avoid public activities for over three months (so far). The impact of this on wage- earning and paying the rent and feeding our families has been staggering. Also, small businesses are scrambling to stay afloat and to bring back their employees, so that everyone can return to earning their living.
Fortunately, in addition to neighbors helping neighbors, there are many groups across America rising to meet the challenge. They are fighting for the families and seniors in our neighborhoods. One example in our community of people with these broad shoulders is our city and county leaders who are working long hours to coordinate the delivery of relief funding and services to folks in need. They are helping our neighbors who are in trouble, and also helping small businesses to get back on their feet.
Another part of delivering relief to the public is getting the word out about how to access relief services. Our cities’ Chambers of Commerce are dedicated to that and have been very effective. They are organizing and publicizing all of these relief services in collaboration with elected officials: food delivery to families in need, rent relief and eviction-protection, childcare resources, health services, housing and utilities assistance, financial relief and resources to help small businesses, and publicizing volunteer opportunities and ways to donate to these efforts.
It takes a special type of person during a major crisis to stand tall and help those in need. Fortunately, America is full of such good people: Those who love their neighbors. Those who work hard to help local businesses get back to normal. Those who stand tall, with broad shoulders, to pitch in and help their neighbors to weather this crisis.
It’s those people, with their can-do attitude, who make our country so exceptional.
Clem Molony is a 75-year-old community volunteer focusing on youth academic support, transit-oriented housing development, and environmental sustainability.