Susie Fikse

As the director of a small non-profit in San Diego, one of the most disturbing things to me during the pandemic was seeing the gap between the rich and poor, the “haves” and the “have-nots,” continue to widen. What began as a ravine is now a canyon that feels impossible to bridge. Obstacles like poverty, lack of education, or language barriers only exacerbated COVID challenges. Sheltering in place takes on different meaning if you’re living in your car or with an abusive partner. Schooling at home is hampered if kids are without a computer or internet access and don’t have an English-speaking parent to help. Social distancing is impossible if you live with a multiple-generational family in a two-bedroom apartment. My hope for our community is that we would come out of our bubbles of isolation that separate us based on race or socio-economic group and build mutually-beneficial relationships that can bridge this damaging divide.