The Weekly - May 27, 2020 - 24

Field Notes

Hanging by a Thread

Now is the time to make big decisions that will have ramifications far
beyond simply surviving the COVID-19 crisis. By Jen Gurecki

me how I'm doing unless you're
ready for a real answer. The
pleasantries that usually would
have been exchanged at the
beginning of a meeting are no
longer normal anymore, just like
everything else. My responses
have depended upon what has
unfolded that day. Did I engage
in the news cycle? Did another
email with devastating effects on
my business land in my inbox?
Did I accidentally get drunk on
the couch the night before while
binging Netflix? Did I manage to
forget for just a minute?
My responses have gone something like this: I'm total shit. I'm a
bit hungover. I'm trying to find out
just how long leg hair can grow.
I can't seem to get my work done
anymore. I spent five hours hitting
refresh on a website to try to apply
for a $5,000 grant and I'm tired of
fighting for crumbs. I don't know if
I'm going to have a business at the
end of this year. I'm angry/sad/disgusted about what we've allowed
to unfold in this county.
Not surprisingly, this completely takes people off guard.
I suppose that's because we've
grown accustomed to showing up
strong and creating an outward
appearance that is confident,
together, and successful. That's
what society has expected of us,
and it's certainly easier than truly
engaging in what other people are
experiencing. The distance gives
us an out, and it perpetuates a
false narrative that we're all OK.

The reality is that many of us
have been hanging on by a thread.

most significant outcomes of
watching COVID-19 unfold across
the world-bearing witness to
incredible suffering that could have
been prevented. What would the
death toll look like for indigenous
communities and people of color
had they had access to affordable
and robust health care for their entire lives? How could families have
better weathered a job loss if they
had been paid a living wage, allowing them to put some money aside
each and every month? How could
we have eased the mental burden
and mitigated the risk of transmission by having paid time off and
sick leave policies that benefited
employees? How many more small
businesses would survive and thrive
if we shifted our focus away from
big business and bailouts? What
would our lives and this country
look like if we valued and fought for
community rather than our personal independence and freedom?
The cracks in the systems are
(now?) so painfully obvious. And
no one should be surprised that
they exist in our outdoor spaces as
well. For as much as we'd like to
think that the outdoors is an apolitical space where anyone can play,
it certainly isn't, which was brought
to light (again) recently with the
murder of Ahmaud Arbery, who
lost his life only because he was
black and running through his
neighborhood-a simple act that


so many of us have not only taken
up during quarantine but taken for
granted. Access to the outdoors,
equity within the outdoors, and the
ability to recreate openly and safely
are all part of these larger societal
structures that, by design, advance
a select few and purposely oppress
others. The question is: How much
longer will we tolerate this?
It requires great humility to
recognize what we've been doing
wrong and come to terms with our
own complicity or ignorance. And
it takes courage to actively make
a difference. How we vote, the
difficult conversations in which we
actively engage, the messages we
share, who we follow, the people
we hire, the books we read, the
organizations to which we donate

money, the businesses we choose
to patronize. There are micro and
macro decisions we make every
day that could be under evaluation, and not because of guilt or
profit or status, but because we
can do better-and we deserve it.
This will help us far beyond
mitigating the continued challenges
of COVID-19. It will help us rebuild
and move into a more sustainable
way of being that protects and uplifts the people and the planet, not
just profit. What we've learned over
the past few months is that many
of us can withstand and overcome
things we never thought were possible. COVID-19 hasn't broken us. It's
readied us for the fight we should
have had a long time ago.
Jen Gurecki is the CEO of the women-owned and -operated brand
Coalition Snow (coalitionsnow.
com) and editor of Sisu Magazine
( Follow on
Instagram: @coalitionsnow,
@sisumagazine, and @yogurecki.

Jen Gurecki



The Weekly - May 27, 2020

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