Commentary: This article is a draft for an article submitted to my local newspaper for the July edition. Before submitting it, I may rewrite part of all of it. I have another I idea for an article purely on mental health and the arts solutions that can come of it. It is more concrete, less grand, and more amenable to a local audience. Will dwell on this.
In a time of great uncertainty, a reawakening of rural and urban communities, a reopening of our lives and livelihoods to community and the world, it is important to reflect on the issues which our country faces today. Indeed, we face many issues, but with globalization pushing the center of the economy and culture further away from the cities, it is interesting to think of the internet based era we live in to be one of decentralization. Some of the problems which we face today are not limited by state or national boundaries, but include all of humanity. We are reopening, sure, but many parts of the world remain closed off to resources, information, and travel.
Race, class, gender, and disability are all factors of a systemic shift we are facing in our global community. Building healthy communities has never been more important, and awareness of the issues that are present in our community can help us be more aware of the broader changes that are taking place.
The State of Connecticut was just allocated $28.5 million dollars to support increased mental health and substance use disorder problems. This funding, which comes from the American Rescue Plan will help Connecticut address the increased mental health services that are needed in the wake of COVID. This is not all as communities need more support in the form of police training, community services, and educational tools and programs for mental health.
Furthermore, gender equality has stagnated in the United States, with the pay gap between men and women remaining steady for much of the past 5 years. Women are still pulled away from their jobs to do more housework than men and by failing to address this we are putting our society at greater risk of violence, conflict, and moral decline. This is not just about the data either, women need to have a greater and equal role in every job traditionally done by men.
A major source of conflict in our communities today has to do with conflict between people of different origins, nationalities, ethnicities, and races. By acknowledging our differences, and building a community based on a shared affirmation of histories, we are better able to tackle the problems we face in the workplace, in the political arena, and throughout public life.
By acknowledging wealth disparities that are present in our own communities, we can work to be more welcoming and enabling to individuals and families who are seeking to improve their social and income based standing. By providing these people with a solution that is not commercial, but inherently political, we can open up spaces where they are valued and where that value can increase.
Much work is being done in the avenues of humanism, politics, and the human environment. A strategic goal, used correctly, will help our community survive and grow. Our community is a mirror of the bigger world around us. We are a microcosm of our planet earth. Reflecting on why we are here, and our shared identity can help us navigate to a better future for our town.