During the COVID-19 pandemic, I have been thinking about the ideas of “local” and “global.”
I was talking about this with some of our racialized and ethnic minority community members. I noticed that some of them described their home countries as “local” and Kitchener-Waterloo as “global” because it was foreign to them. That made me realize that when I arrived in KW about 33 years ago, it was global and foreign to me. Today, however it is my home and definitely local.
Not everyone has the same experience: many who have been here for many years still see their home countries as local. Thinking this over, I wondered if we should challenge the view that draws clear boundaries between local and global.
This is important as we recognize how the pandemic affects the racialized and ethnic minorities in the region and beyond, who experience two realities: the effects of the pandemic in KW on their own health and work, and the effects on their family members living in other parts of the world. It’s a double burden.
Clearly, it is time to think beyond policy and strategy to move into action. It is time to take down the barriers and remove the challenges and ensure that our racialized and minority community members have access to income, education, employment, housing, health care and social services. And we need to bring different perspectives and experiences to bear on these challenges.
We learn best when we are not alone but when we are engaged with others. Even though our connections must often be virtual these days, building hitherto unseen networks can help us withstand the effects of the pandemic and other problems. When we all share what we know and have experienced, we will have better plans to move forward.