On the one-year anniversary of the January 6, 2021 insurrection at our Nation’s Capital, I wish I could tell you that fight is over. It isn’t. Repairing and expanding access to voting is vital if we are to live in a world where American democracy survives. We must pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
In year two of the global pandemic, I wish I could tell you it was over. I wish that we as a nation had embraced health and safety guidelines, science, and vaccines. This week San Diego County and the United States reported the highest number of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic. The exhausting thought of again putting our plans, our lives on hold can seem impossibly unfair and overwhelming. We aren’t out of the woods yet, and still, there is hope in our community’s resolve.
Over the last two years, study after study has demonstrated what we have felt to our core; COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on the LGBTQ community. From job and housing loss to higher rates of infection and death, the systemic social inequities that our community is all too familiar with have only been exacerbated and highlighted by the pandemic. Our celebrations canceled, our safe spaces shuttered, and still, we adapted and must continue to do so.
Rather than give up, we grew. We learned new skills, built new and safer spaces. Rather than embrace isolation, we welcomed innovation. We leaned into public health and safety guidelines and ensured we got vaccinated and boosted at higher rates than non-LGBTQ people. This isn’t our first pandemic. This isn’t our movement’s first or second time embracing public health as a communal cause. We know how to do this.
With this current COVID-19 surge our community groups, nonprofits, and small businesses are working diligently to pivot, pivot, pivot, in the interest of our short and long-term health, safety, and stability. Each of us can do our part as well. Get your booster shot, wear a mask, distance, isolate if you have symptoms, and wash your hands. If you have friends or family who are still holding out on vaccination, are denying the science, or oppose access to voting rights, now is the time to directly engage them with compassion as our community knows all too well that the best messengers are those you already know and love. Our work is not done, but I know that together we can still pursue Justice with Joy.
With Love and Hope,
Fernando Zweifach López
San Diego Pride