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So, life is beginning to return to normal. Except that everything has changed.
Stores are open and we can finally get our hair done, but customers and staff are wearing masks. Patios are open, but diners are sitting far apart and cutlery is sterilized like surgical equipment. We now add extra time to tasks to account for lineups.
We have taken an arduous journey that no one wanted. We have lost the careless freedoms of easy mobility, convenience and spontaneity. Many businesses and jobs have perished in the economic earthquake we are enduring.
As the song says, “… you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone”.
In the void of what used to be, we started to truly think in terms of “we” as a global community. We saw irrefutable evidence of the interconnectedness of humans on this planet. Borders became irrelevant – no one had immunity to this virus. And many of us became aware, as perhaps we had never been before, that we had much to be grateful for.
But then there was a plot twist in this historic tale we are living. In the midst of all the deaths of the pandemic, one took on profound meaning: a black man killed by a police officer. Suddenly, voices which have been ignored for decades became louder. Rage at deep disparity and inequity — and the cruel casualty with which it has been papered over and disregarded – overflowed onto our streets.
Those of us with white privilege, like me, finally have had to hear these voices and face ourselves and our society: it is deeply, systemically flawed by racism. This tsunami of truth has washed over our society just as the pandemic did – unarguably.
The Black Lives Matter movement has also given voice to the pain and truth of our indigenous communities. The ugliness of our society is apparent. We cannot look away and we must act. Our underlying assumptions are all in question.
This is the reality of our new world: Change is certain but the details aren’t. We at Retrofit are preparing to reopen and are putting in place all measures to ensure health and safety. We will welcome you back inside the studio – we just don’t quite know when.
But when we do, it will be with great appreciation for all that we have learned and all that we have. And a deep commitment to living with integrity, compassion and fairness.
Everything has changed. And that’s a good thing.