With nearly 400,000 deaths from a global pandemic, the worst economic turndown since the Great Depression, and widespread peaceful protests after the murder of George Floyd, it is easy to feel like the world is ending.
Worrying about you or your loved ones contracting COVID-19 and having any semblance of normal life disrupted was anxiety-inducing enough for most of us.
Now, many Americans for the first time are having their eyes opened to the systematic racism our country was built upon and are stepping up to try to change it. While this seems like a positive improvement, it's not hard to recognize that this change should have happened decades ago. Too many black lives have been lost unjustly or been victim to racism from the very people employed out to protect us; the police force.
And yet, the protesters have been met with tear gas, rubber bullets, and military level-force.
What has this country, built on the ideals of democracy, come to that the very people who are fighting for justice are brutalized, arrested, and ultimately silenced? In many cases, the police have spared no one; not even medics or journalists. It is a story we would expect from communist countries or dictatorships; not the "Land of the Free."
Amongst all of this, it is hard to find time to take a deep breath.
It is hard to believe that this is the world we are living in and it is hard to think of a better future. Anxiety levels are high in everyone, and understandably so. But we must not despair and we most certainly should not give up.
While it is important to keep fighting on all fronts — against COVID-19, against police brutality and racism — it is also important to take time to check in with yourself and remember a few key things. While it seems impossible, things will get better. We will have a vaccine eventually for COVID-19 and all we can do until then is follow CDC guidelines and protect each other as best we can. We will keep protesting for a more fair and safe America, and if we keep at it we will enact change. We have done it before in this country against all odds and we can do it again.
Every horrible thing that has happened thus far in 2020 has just made us stronger, more resilient. We've survived months stuck at home during COVID-19's peak and we can survive a few more months if we need to again in the future.
The death of George Floyd was the breaking point for America. No longer will we stand for police brutality and racism at the hands of law enforcement. We have shown the government that it will not be tolerated anymore and while the future may seem bleak now, if we continue we will see change in our lifetimes.
There have already been some direct positive changes as a result of the protests — Minneapolis officials have come together to ban chokeholds and neck restraints and now require police officers to stop their colleagues if they see them using unnecessary force. Democrats in Congress have prepared a package of police reforms that they hope to pass in the near future.
It is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel during such an uncertain and scary time, but we must remember that we have recovered from trying times in the past and we will recover from this one too. And if we keep fighting for change and protesting injustice we will come out of this tunnel a better and more united country than ever before.