Emelda Davis

Activist

COVID-19 coupled with new Government directive for social distancing has affected our global community and the environment in ways we never envisaged. The energetic and spiritual shift experienced by human existence has required our ability to manage and console with daily mourning for unknown global families and loved ones in the thousands who have lost lives due to the pandemic.

More recently I have had to negotiate on behalf of extremely venerable community members that fall through the cracks of government support such as seasonal workers from Vanuatu on temporary visas and support for a homeless African international student sleeping on the streets of Pyrmont. The impact of COVID-19 are devastating and distressing for many of our community members who see themselves stuck in Australia due to border closures to their country and also isolated with no government support, therefore, they need to continue risking their health and families well-being by working.

 

We should be grateful that this continued work is also necessary for supplying Australia's food chain in fresh foods etc. Pastoral care and local churches have had to continue work in extending services putting themselves at risk as do these workers. ASSI community demographic exercise caution around hygiene and social distancing and our remote and some regional First Nations communities seem to be completely untouched seeing the borders to those communities closed in not allowing services providers, tourists etc to enter their safe havens.

People are exercising their social media access in adopting free platforms to stay connected and host interactive online forums.

 

Post COVID practice has already seen ASSIPJ discussion around social distancing and variation of funding applications to meet new guidelines. Most definitely the global mindfulness around cleanliness and personal space will assist our well-being as we reengage strategically with the community in years to come. Life as we knew it is no more but will improve for the better. I can't help thinking that climate change environmental nurturing will take a turn for the better given mother earth has been given a chance to breathe under difficult circumstances.

 

As a brave new world, we as human beings and descendants of Blackbirding are resilient and used to adversity. As we move through these drastic changes women especially as the first responders within our communities intrinsically begin to regroup, reassess and rebuild our societies within the frameworks of new government policy. This is an evolution for our societies in taking on board that COVID or disease doesn't discriminate and we are all part of the same global community. The high level of unemployment seeing people on dole ques is a reality check that we need to think differently and be kinder to each other having experienced a fall from grace for some and a hand up in support of others.

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