You may be aware that the suicide rate is currently higher than the homicide rate in this country. I am aware that I have written about the increase in depression. Now this.

While writing this piece, U.S. COVID-19 deaths surpassed 100,000, with nearly 1.7 million of our fellow countrymen infected.

Sobering statistics are no match for soaring temperatures and COVID-19 cabin fever. The invitation of a fun cool down, a (socially distant) sprawl in the sand being just a short trip away was all-too tempting for the sweat-soaked masses. Families and friends threw off their shelter-in-place shackles for a slosh in the bay at Crown Beach Tuesday night following Memorial Day.  

Not to catapult an unsolicited opinion onto an unsuspecting public but, let it suffice to say that the COVID-19 pandemic has situated us at a fork — not a pothole — in the road. As Yogi Berra tried to warn us, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

We could be asking ourselves: “Do we want to get back to normal or do we want to germinate a new normal?” Depending on your response, our current crisis could be an opportunity — if you will pardon the cliché — for a paradigm shift. We could hunker down and sentimentally lament the passing of the good old days.

The Everyone Belongs Here Poem and Poster Contest theme this year was how everyone still belongs here and belongs together, but how everyone needs to adapt to show unity. The winning poem and poster appear here. 

Thirteen in Quarantine

Peyton Y. Cheung
43 days of SIP
43 days of going crazy
43 days of driving my parents and brother insane,
43 days of dying of boredom

The mass protests in Alameda and in cities across the nation in the wake of the George Floyd murder in Minneapolis has made one thing crystal clear in this time of pandemic: contrary to the universal mantra “we’re all in this together,” we are actually not “all in this together.” 

One need looks only as far as Sunday’s Zoom Town Hall on police violence, bombed by the vilest of what Vice Mayor John Knox White termed “inhuman” language.