#PillsofHope: lights made in USA
By Maddalena Maltese
What’s life like in New York in the Covid-19 era? In the run up to this year’s United World Week (1-7 May), we continue our quest to amplify hope, the “sound of the growing forest”, through our #PillsOfHope. Maddalena Maltese, an Italian journalist based in New York, shares her reflections.
Today and everyday at 7pm we can be seen at our street doors to applaud, whistle and shout a loud «Thank you!» It’s 31 days since Covid-19 transformed New York from the city that never sleeps into a huge film set with its lights switched off and empty squares.
However every evening at seven, we all come out to celebrate a rite which is both liberating and communitarian. We express our gratitude to doctors, nurses, support workers, drivers, supermarket staff, all those who have not stopped work in order to provide essential services to us.
Last weekend Yvette, Paul with other engineers and computer professionals travelled from all over the area and even from New Jersey, to assemble ventilators at the Boyce factory. Three thousand are needed immediately. The company appealed for help and so many people responded freely, showing there’s no place for political squabbles in this situation. The people on this production line, characterized by social distancing and face masks, are responding to the appeals of those who are saving lives and not to those seeking votes.
Thousands of other volunteers are doing likewise silently through Invisible hands, an organization which has emerged during the Covid-19 outbreak, delivering groceries and supplies to the most at-risk members of the community.
One day last week, actor and producer Tyler Perry paid the grocery bills for all the old people who went to shop at 73 supermarkets in Atlanta and New Orleans on the day allocated to the elderly.
Today too, teachers and janitors from 400 New York schools are delivering packed lunches to their pupils. Many of these students are at home with parents who are unemployed as a result of the lockdown, which has wiped out the income of the most vulnerable workers, including those employed in dishwashing, room service and cleaning.
Large scale philanthropists, such as Bloomberg, the Ford Foundation, Rockefeller etc, have intervened with $75 million in grants and no-interest loans to small and medium not-for-profit organizations, to compensate for the losses caused by the pandemic. The CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, donated $1 billion to various charities and to research into a Covid-19 cure.
These are the new lights made in USA.