Organizing during a pandemic

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Photo: courtesy Amnesty International

As each week passes, the new reality we live in becomes clearer. Even when orders restricting our movement are lifted, many of us will never shake hands. We will wear gloves and masks. We will wait for a vaccine and a cure so that we might feel slightly more normal, likely in 2021 or even 2022. We will continue giving to those who have been most impacted by this crisis because this pandemic will linger and affect Black and Brown folks, trans folks, health care workers, freelancers, performers, sex workers, small business owners and restaurant workers for years to come. We will stand six feet apart from one another. We will carefully plan walking routes to avoid the most traffic, and we will send much of our love virtually. But we also have the opportunity to change more than our social habits. Has this pandemic been dire enough to change the way we see healthcare? Paid time off? Essential workers? Equity? It is time we ask what has been brought to light that needs fighting for and how can we fight for it while maintaining social distance. Most of us have seen a vote-by-mail campaign by now, but what other options do we have for protesting an unjust system — something near to the heart for LGBTQ folks. How can we “take to the streets” when we want to protect ourselves and others from viral spread? When trans rights are taken away by a bigoted Trump administration, how can we make our voices heard? We will be creative, as we always have and not let this pandemic change our resolve for equity. We can engage in drive-by protests, turn our windows and porches into public statements, call our legislators, educate others online and have virtual community conversations to share ideas. While much has changed, the LGBTQ community’s activism need not rest. If anything, the cracks in our society have been revealed and space has widened, allowing us to come out stronger than ever.