By Gabriel McMorland
Let’s spread peace through the pandemic. I invite readers to let TMC know how we might support you or your loved ones during this time of physical distance and sheltering. We know the dangers of Covid-19 extend far beyond the medical threats of the virus itself, and we can find hope and safety only by staying connected, staying organized, and demanding visionary change.
As the social crisis surrounding Covid-19 reveals glaring injustices in our broken systems, our collective work towards peace and justice calls upon our compassion, commitment, and wild imaginations of what’s possible.
Just as with previous natural disasters, a politics of profit over people and centuries of militarized oppression leave our institutions and power brokers unprepared to support people. The basic operations of our society turn out to be as precarious as the paycheck-to-paycheck, food-and housing-insecure lives long experienced by so many. We’ve spent decades squeezing the last dollars out of people in an ever-shrinking healthcare system, and packing millions of our most vulnerable into prisons that now become epicenters of Covid transmission. Most of the emergency relief measures proposed today have already been long standing demands from exploited and excluded communities for generations now.
TMC helped to launch the Pittsburgh Mutual Aid network, bringing community members together to help each other by sharing food, running errands to the pharmacy, offering rides, or whatever else is needed. As part of the PA Poor People’s Campaign statewide coalition, we’re pushing to expand access to healthcare, food and housing, and other resources and protections. Stop Banking the Bomb reminds us that hair-trigger nuclear weapons become even more reckless in times when daily life itself is unreliable. We’re also working with others locally to decarcerate Allegheny County Jail – to demand the release of people from the downtown death trap, to immediately address medical needs at ACJ, and to stop the needless arrests of people without any public safety justification.
Together, let’s embrace the power of this moment to transform our world towards the vision of justice that TMC was founded to pursue. Please contact Gabriel@thomasmertoncenter.org to get involved, to become a member, or ask any questions.
Gabriel McMorland is director of the Thomas Merton Center and wants to hear from readers about how the COVID crisis affects you and what we can do together about it.
NewPeople Newspaper VOL. 50 No. 4. May/June, 2020. All rights reserved.