The Heroes We Need | Editorial

It is clear that 2021 has been a trying year. The pandemic has progressed unabated, sending waves of grief, isolation and general hardship in all directions. And with so much suffering now largely preventable thanks to vaccination, the fear that hung over the virus has been largely replaced by a dull and omnipresent sadness. But in the midst of all of these very real feelings, it’s important not to lose sight of all that we as a community need to be grateful for. It’s a lot.

We are grateful to the many nonprofits who work daily – pandemic or not – to make Humboldt County a better, more equitable, and inclusive place for everyone, and for all of the people who volunteer their time to move forward. these missions. And in 2021, we are especially grateful to Food for People, which has fed so many of our neighbors despite extraordinary economic hardship, Cooperation Humboldt, which has helped households discover the power to grow their own food and the peace it can. bring, and Betty Kwan Chinn, who continued and expanded her relentless efforts to care for the homeless residents of Humboldt County.

We are grateful to all of the teachers and school staff who have worked tirelessly to get our children back into and keep them there, by incorporating COVID mitigation measures into their routines while striving to bridge the gap. the success gaps and providing the children most at risk with shelter from the proverbial storm.

We are grateful to all the police and firefighters who continued to answer calls with professionalism and grace, even amid fears of infection and as their own families struggled under the stress of the pandemic, and who are increasingly facing the very real mental health crisis we are facing. And we owe a special debt of gratitude to the firefighters who have come from near and far to save communities threatened by wildfires this summer, doing grueling and dangerous work in unprecedented conditions. Thank you.

We are grateful to the artists and performers who have maintained online forums for creativity and adapted live performances to outdoor venues, those who have struggled to keep us connected to each other. You have broadcast variety shows and held distance dance lessons, held secure events and painted murals, reminding us of the beauty and power of shared experience.

We are grateful to the indigenous activists in our community who have once again resuscitated the removal of the Klamath Dam in what appears to be a promising final push to revive an ecosystem, save species and reclaim a way of life.

We are also grateful to those who have taken powerful action to right centuries-old wrongs, from removing a plaque honoring a Nazi collaborator from one of the most beautiful places on Earth, to restoring the rightful name. from Sue-meg to a breathtaking state park or push the town of Eureka to honor Chinese residents who have resisted efforts to expel them from the city.

We are grateful to the dozens and dozens of nurses and healthcare workers who volunteered their time to put the shots out in an ongoing effort to protect our neighbors – and our entire community – from COVID-19. And we’re grateful to nonprofits like True North Organizing Network, volunteer firefighters, and community centers who have worked so hard to help overcome misinformation and language barriers to get people vaccinated.

We are grateful not only for the 61% of our neighbors – that’s 83,459 of us – who have been fully vaccinated in an act that we consider patriotic and communal, but for all who have taken this virus seriously. , masking (and wearing properly), keeping physical distance in mind, and refraining from collecting and mixing households when we knew it wasn’t safe. Thank you.

And perhaps most importantly, we are grateful to our doctors, nurses, healthcare workers and support staff. You have now spent almost two years trying to save us from this disease, while helplessly watching too many of us die and suffer even more, often working long hours away from family and quelling your own fears of infection. . And you did all of this when some of your accusations were indifferent to your advice, if not downright hostile. As a community, we owe you a debt that we can never repay. Thank you.

As 2021 draws to a close, we remember those banners that were so popular in the early months of the pandemic, proclaiming loud and clear above hospitals and grocery stores that ‘the heroes work here’. The truth is, we have a lot of heroes in Humboldt County who work hard every day to take care of their neighbors and this place we all call home. We would all do well to keep their efforts and sacrifices in mind and strive to approach 2022 with all the gratitude and grace we can muster. We’re gonna need it.

Jennifer Fumiko Cahill (she / she) is the Arts and Articles Editor-in-Chief of the Journal. Contact her at 442-1400, ext. 320, or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @JFumikoCahill.

Thadeus Greenson (he / him) is the editor of the Journal. Contact him at 442-1400, ext. 321, or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @ThadeusGreenson.

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