Unity During A Pandemic

As I write this, I have just watched the United States’ inauguration of Kamala Harris and Joe Biden. It was surprisingly moving for me. I was face-timing my sister, who lives back home in Sweden when her husband texted her to come downstairs. He was born in America and very eager to share this moment with her, besides, Lady Gaga was going to sing. So we said our goodbyes and I decided to check out the singer’s performance. It was good, and her belting made me stay on the channel. In addition to Gaga, Jennifer Lopez sang, and unfortunately, for I am damaged, her vocals were distorting, and it saddened me. Then in Spanish, she shouted “One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” and I forgave the technicians…

Just before this pleasant interruption, in my otherwise busy day, I was lying on my sofa engulfed in a Swedish TV show called Fröken Frimans Krig (Miss Friman’s War). It’s a show about the fight for equality and the battle for women’s right to vote in early 20th century Stockholm. It deals with matters like women not being of legal authority. Because back then, her husband was her custodian and spoke for her. It brings forward the worryingly common fact, that many women died from giving birth. Finally, in Sweden, if you slept with someone you weren’t married to, you could be branded as a sex worker and had to report to an authority every week, where you were inspected for disease. It’s shocking to think how far we’ve come and it’s thanks to women like them. Nonetheless, let us not forget, these things are still happening in some countries.

Now, with the inauguration of Kamala Harris, I feel like I’m on the precipice of change once again. She is the first woman, the first black and south Asian to be sworn in as a vice president. This leaves me elevated and hopeful and I can see a brighter future. Concurrently I am ashamed for not fighting harder for our equality, maybe I am too comfortable to do so. If I was allowed to work and had a male artist say something inappropriate, would I say something back or hold my tongue? Or would my recent experiences, following these strong leading women, guide me to be bolder and confront any unkind words or actions.

Biden talked of unity. So far from what we all feel right now, as we are divided beyond our comprehension. Closed borders and further from our loved ones, even our neighbours. So even though we are all facing this pandemic together, we lack, from all world’s corners, unity. So my question to you, is how can we create unity beyond ourselves today? How can we as sisters, brothers, and non-binary unite in our differences in a global pandemic?

Well, today is historical indeed and a win for feminism and equality, but may it serve as a reminder of how far we have come and that it is up to each and every one of us to work towards it.


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