It is easy to look around and think about all that this season of a global pandemic and domestic crisis has taken away. The comfort of routine; the normalcy of going places; the freedom to see and hug people; for many the reliance on steady income, health, and safety. We do not have to look far in our own lives or in those around us to see how this season has jolted many of us and taken several things away. However, I also think it is possible to look and see how much this season has given us. For me, I have been given invaluable and unprecedented time to be with my family,  time to read books and watch movies that have sat on my lists for too long, a time to look into my heart and study my own racial blind spots and dream of a better world, and a time to breathe. In a time where the pace of life suddenly looked so different, it became clear how fast I like to live life. How I am often racing to the next task, the next event, or the next person without catching my breath and taking time to truly pause and reflect. We saw within weeks of more people staying indoors and less activity how the Earth and its creatures were able to breath more easily as well. I know I have been blessed with the privilege of time and space to breathe during this time, and the biggest thing I have been given during this time is the opportunity to work for The Borgen Project.

The Borgen Project is a national campaign that is working to make global poverty a focus of US foreign policy.

736 million.

2.5 billion.

822 million.

These numbers are not the amount of people who have COVID-19, or the number of Netflix shows I have watched, or the amount of days we feel we have been in social isolation. These numbers are the amount of people in extreme poverty, the amount of people who lack access to adequate sanitation, and the amount of people hungry worldwide. In light of the plans I had for my summer being cancelled, I was presented with the opportunity to work for The Borgen Project. I had no idea how fitting it would end up being.

As COVID-19 continues to be a global pandemic, as we are all in a process of learning and unlearning, and as many are learning about the impact of their voice in politics; it is easy to ask what can I actually do; how can I make a difference? I have been blessed to be able to advocate for the world’s poor during a time of global unrest and ask my representatives to support a global response to COVID-19. We can make a difference! When we call, email, tweet, or write to our representatives they take note and tally what they are contacted about. Living in a representative democracy means that our elected leaders are there to represent us. We can make our passions heard and ask that we are represented well. This summer, I have asked my representatives to share my passion for those in global poverty—specifically to support the International Affairs Budget and Emergency Funding for Global COVID-19 Response.

We like to talk about self-care a lot—and it is important. We all need to take time, especially right now, to check in on our mental and emotional well-being and not be afraid to unplug and give ourselves the time to recharge that we need. However, I think when we put the other in self-care, we remind ourselves that when any of us are better, we are all better. To care for others is to care for myself, and the ultimate self-care is to speak on behalf of the most vulnerable and oppressed (for more on this topic, check out this article!).

In 5 years, when I look back on this time instead of remembering all that was taken or even all that was given to me, I hope to remember all that I gave. I hope to look back and be able to say that I spoke up for those whose voices were drowned out, that I used all the privilege and access I had to advocate for those who lack basic needs, and I hope I can say I took steps toward ending global poverty.

For more on how to get involved with The Borgen Project, go HERE.