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Racism and the Collapsing Society, Barbara Love and Tim Jackins, June 7, 2020

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Dear RCers,

The pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus has been with us for a year and a half now. The spread of the virus has been unpredictable, and it has hit different parts of the world at different times with different severities. How effectively the situation has been handled has varied tremendously, depending on both the wealth and the political leadership of each country.

The nations that have been most impoverished by a history of colonialism have had the fewest resources with which to handle the situation, and they continue to suffer high infection rates and deaths. The wealthier countries, which have profited from colonization and exploitation, have had the resources to treat infected people, develop and purchase vaccines, and distribute them to their citizens. This has helped them to bring their infection rates down.

Many people across the world have understood the usefulness of social distancing, masks, and sanitizing solutions on hands and surfaces and have used these measures to help contain the spread of the virus. This has helped to slow the spread, thereby lessening the load on hospitals and other medical systems.

However, most places in the world have gone through more than one wave of COVID infections, making it clear that declining infection rates, while hopeful, do not automatically signal the end of the pandemic.

Also, because the virus has spread so widely and infected so many people, it has had many opportunities to mutate and many variants of the original virus have appeared. Some of these are even more contagious than the original. How much resistance an already vaccinated or previously infected person has to these variants is not yet clear. And as long as the virus is infecting large numbers of persons, new variants will continue to develop.

No uniform direction

When the virus first appeared, I asked all of us in the RC Community to cease in-person classes, workshops, and sessions. That was understandably difficult and restimulating for many of us but was also important for protecting ourselves and each other. I think it was in a correct direction, since none of us had any immunity to the virus, and the usual close contact of our activities made transmission of it very likely.

Currently, the likelihood of being infected by some version of the virus varies greatly depending on where in the world one lives. Infection rates are dropping in many places, especially where a large and growing percentage of the population has been vaccinated. This has led some people to wonder about meeting again in person for sessions, classes, and workshops. Without a common set of circumstances with regard to the virus, however, there is no simple uniform direction for every Co-Counselor or RC Community to follow. We will have to continue acquiring information and thinking about our various situations.

The vaccines work to protect people but not perfectly, and having survived a COVID infection does not provide complete immunity. We do not have the information yet to know how well the current vaccines work against all the new variants. Therefore, dangers still exist, and we need to think about them, discharge the distresses the situation restimulates, and decide in this developing situation how physically separate we need to stay now.

Local gather-ins to consider local policies

We all would like this to be over. We all would like to be back closer together again. And though it is useful to discharge on the restimulations of having to be separate, meeting in person does make a difference.

Therefore, I would like each RC Region to have a couple of Zoom gather-ins in which to share information about local conditions, have sessions, do think-and-listens to hear each other’s thinking, and try to reach a consensus for a policy for the local Community for the current period. Any policy should be recognized as a draft policy that could change with changing conditions. 

This is not a question that has to be answered quickly, and several such meetings may be necessary. We need to clear our minds of the distresses related to our situations, share all the real and relevant information we can, think about everyone’s welfare, and try to reach agreement. It is possible.

Whatever the thinking of the local RC Community, no one should be compelled to have contact in ways that they believe could endanger them. During this pandemic, we have learned to use electronic communications in ever more effective ways, and people should still have the option of using them to participate in a class, workshop, gather-in, or session when they feel it is necessary to protect themselves.

In most of our Communities, it is not yet safe for everyone to go back to the ways we functioned in 2019. It is not yet time to have in-person classes or workshops. We are also not yet doing in-person Intensives here at Re-evaluation Counseling Community Resources (RCCR). 

In this period, the farther people travel to be together and the larger the group that gathers, the less safe it is. We need to keep thinking about all of us and how our individual decisions affect others in the Community.

Regarding Co-Counseling sessions, when is it safe for you and your Co-Counselor to meet in person? Here are some factors to consider in answering this question: Are you both fully vaccinated? Are either of you in unmasked contact with unvaccinated people? How many other Co-Counselors are each of you going to have in-person sessions with? It would be beneficial to have a think-and-listen on this, so that each of you could hear many minds thinking about it. Ultimately, the decision needs to be made by each pair of Co-Counselors, and the local RC Community needs to know about it.  

Though infection rates may be going down in your locality, we still want to avoid providing a line of connections along which the virus could be transmitted. Since fewer people are involved in a session than in a class or a workshop, sessions are safer than the other two activities.

A high percentage of us being fully vaccinated (when the vaccine is available) still seems to be the only way we currently have to slow and eventually stop the spread of the virus.

When a Region has thought together over several weeks’ time and agreed on a way to go forward, I would like to be informed of the policy before it is implemented.

With love,

Tim


Last modified: 2021-06-15 19:05:04+00