NEW ORLEANS (April 16, 2021) – We watched the Black Lives Matter Movement reignite in all its vigor as videos and articles of the murders of black men and women circulated the Internet. 2020 should have radicalized you, and 2021 is no exception.
We bore witness to an insurrection just days into the New Year. Former President Trump’s supporters and other right-wing extremists stormed the U.S. Capitol. Of that event, Mark Pitcavage, a historian and analyst of far-right groups, told CNN: “This was an event designed to oppose the results of a free and fair democratic election and the transition of power that would naturally follow” – a attempted coup to overturn electoral votes.
The coronavirus pandemic has held us hostage in our homes for more than a year now (thanks to the failures and incompetence of the Trump administration), and American citizens have received three stimulus checks, which did not provide ample financial support for Americans to live substantially.
According to rent-price analysis on Rent.com, the national average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $1,621. This means none of the three stimulus checks has been enough to cover one month of rent for a one-bedroom apartment based on the national average.
Moreover, in a 2020 Los Angeles Times article, Brendan O’Flaherty, a Columbia University professor estimated homelessness could increase by 45 percent in 2020 considering the drastic increase in unemployment peaking at 14.7 percent in April because of the pandemic.
Though official statistics on homelessness caused by the COVID-19 pandemic won’t be known until next year, a 2.2 percent increase in homelessness occurred between January 2019 and January 2020 (prior to the pandemic), the New York Times reported.
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia L. Fudge said, “I can’t give you numbers on how much homelessness has increased during the pandemic, but we know it has increased.”
Mass shootings in the United States continue to rise as the country has begun to re-open public spaces. While the criteria for defining a mass shooting is debatable, the fact remains that gun violence has seen a surge. An article by Insider reported 133 mass shooting in the nation between Jan. 1 and March 23. This number is based on the Gun Violence Archive’s definition of a mass shooting as four or more people shot during the same occurrence.
In the simplest of terms, lives are being lost and people can’t afford to live. 2020 should have radicalized you, and 2021 is no different. I urge you to substantiate your feelings with critical analysis and facts as soon as you are able. We should be angry about this. Reading articles and theory doesn’t radicalize you, but empathy and understanding injustices should. Human lives are not disposable.