Like many of you reading this column, I am experiencing a new normal that prevents me from engaging in the everyday activities that, until recently, I took for granted. No longer can we come together to celebrate, commemorate, or mourn the many milestones that measure one’s life. Instead, we are confined to spaces that were never meant to contain our entire lives for a day, let alone weeks on end. And while I can sit at home and lament my lack of mobility during this time, it goes without saying that there are many people in our community who are going to work every day making sure the rest of us remain safe, healthy, and fed.
As the world grapples with the uncertainty brought on by COVID-19, the word community is more important than ever. As individuals are thrust into situations they never thought possible, they are finding support from the communities they belong to. These communities understand that in order to get through the tough times, we must work together. Your community could be your family, your friends, your religious institution, your school, or your local barbershop/hair salon.
The Anacostia Community Museum’s mission is to amplify the collective power of the community. Currently, that collective power is the ability to care for and comfort each other in this time of need. We at ACM want to hear the stories of how community members are supporting each other on a day to day basis. It could be the story of the young man who volunteered to shop for his elderly neighbor. Or the teacher who created a virtual storytime out of her kitchen. Or the small restaurant owner who went from feeding the public to feeding the suddenly unemployed. These actions, large and small, demonstrate moments of resilience and our shared capacity to make a difference.
We are asking you to share these stories of resilience on our website, anacostia.si.edu. Some of the stories will be shared on our social media channels while others may become part of the museum’s collection.
Throughout its 53-year history, the Anacostia Community Museum has focused on telling the stories of the individuals and events of the D.C. region that are usually left out of the history books. The stories of conflict, resilience, and most importantly community action that led to a better future for all. ACM is a proud member of the Ward 8 community and we are honored to tell the stories of the D.C. region.
When all this is over and we settle into a new normal, the records will reflect the facts and figures related to COVID-19; the number of lives taken, the number of jobs lost, the number of years to develop a vaccine. It is our mission at ACM to look beyond the numbers and amplify the stories of the everyday individuals who helped foster a sense of belonging, connectedness, and community during this time of uncertainty in our history.
From all of us at ACM, take care of each other and stay safe.