The spread of the virus COVID-19 has truly disrupted our way of life, and it will surely continue to do so, even after this pandemic is over. As college and university students in the United States, we were sent back to our home towns as our in-person classes have been suspended and moved to online platforms. For all of us, the life we enjoyed attending classes and spending time with our friends came to an abrupt end. And, for some of us, it isn’t all that bad; we still get to stay in the comfort of our homes, enjoy daily meals, and still get education from our respective schools. However, not everyone has this luxury of a relaxing break to stay at home.
As someone who returned home from Seattle to the Philippines, a developing country in South East Asia, I get to see and hear the woes that my countrymen face. I realized how privileged I am to be able to stay home and not worry about where I’m going to sleep tonight. I don’t have to worry about how I’m going to feed my family, or stop my education because of this pandemic. I watch the nightly news and see how low-wage earners who work in companies with a “No-Work-No-Pay” policy have to go out in the streets and beg people for food, and sometimes resort to eating anything, from rats and cats, to just sugar and salt. Today we experience where so many are forced to go out just to survive, while I can safely social distance at home. Daily I scroll through social media and see how my friends rally against their schools to cancel online classes, as low-income households can’t afford internet, and can’t support online learning platforms.
Through this pandemic, I realize anew how privileged I am to have all these commodities, these things that many of us often take for granted. We need to understand how we as individuals, who more likely have more than what we need, can share what we have with those that need it.
At the Center for Religious Wisdom & World Affairs, we just completed our strategic plan for the 2020-2021 Academic Year; with an emphasis on scholarship and opportunities that help the university, our community, and society in general. I am looking forward to those times. Because privilege brings responsibility, and we feel it deeply here.
– From Center Student Affiliate – Carlos Bello