Arundhati Roy, the Indian author and activist, has written: “Whatever it is, coronavirus has made the mighty kneel and brought the world to a halt like nothing else could. Our minds are still racing back and forth, longing for a return to ‘normality,’ trying to stitch our future to our past and refusing to acknowledge the rupture. But the rupture exists. And in the midst of this terrible despair, it offers us a chance to rethink the doomsday machine we have built for ourselves. Nothing could be worse than a return to normality. Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next.”
As protests continue across the nation, we stand in solidarity with all those demanding change after the murders of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, and the continued state sanctioned violence against Black people. We add our voices to the growing chorus of those insisting that without justice there can be no peace. We are also called to recognize that our work to build a more equitable and democratic political economic system will remain unrealized if we fail to take the steps necessary to dismantle white supremacy, be it in our own workplaces, our communities, or our government.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to decimate communities across the world, we must begin thinking about the actions we should take now to both intervene in the crisis and set us on a pathway towards a more reparative and democratic economy. Over the last month, staff at The Democracy Collaborative have participated in a series of conversations about this question and the elements that might lead to a just and equitable recovery. From these preliminary discussions, we have identified five areas around which we intend to focus TDC’s work and programs going forward. We will release more details and refinements on these in the coming months, but wanted to share some of our initial thinking on the contours of the work ahead