This article appeared in the January 28, 2021 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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Year of the pandemic: Emerging better, not bitter

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
Amanda Gorman, the United States' first-ever youth poet laureate, recites her inaugural poem, "The Hill We Climb," at the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Jan. 20, 2021.
Husna Haq
Staff editor

It’s been a year since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and we’ll be drawing lessons from it for years to come. Foremost may be the reminder, so eloquently put by youth poet laureate Amanda Gorman, that we get to choose how to emerge from challenges – bitter or better.  

“We will not march back to what was but move to what shall be,” she proclaimed in her inaugural poem. “So let us leave behind a country better than the one we were left with.” 

People are rising to the occasion in many ways: by supporting local businesses, reaching out to those remote schooling leaves behind, even spreading joy through opera and bhangra

The coronavirus also laid bare where work is needed. It exposed deep inequalities as it hit Black and Latino communities disproportionately hard. It revealed holes in elder care and child care systems. The test now is to harness that knowledge to emerge with solutions – as 12-year-old Daisy Hampton did when she raised money to get laptops to students in need

Like the pandemic, the Capitol riot also revealed our strengths – a resilient democratic system that resumed business mere hours after a violent siege – and our weaknesses, including deep and enduring polarization and a wave of white supremacy that must not be papered over in an effort to move forward. 

We can view these tests as an opportunity to strengthen the values that see us through tumultuous times – compassion, resilience, and generosity – and to cast an unflinching gaze on how we can do better.

This article appeared in the January 28, 2021 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 01/28 edition
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