I think it’s safe to say we’ve all had enough of this lockdown stuff. We have baked way too many cakes for our own good (and waistlines) and ‘internal screaming’ is an understatement to describe the feeling when you hear the words ‘zoom quiz?’ (except if they’re my quizzes - of course)
But in truth, young people like me have been impacted by the pandemic more than a soggy banana bread and finding out that a donkey can see all four of its feet. We’ve faced blow after blow of setbacks and restrictions that have impacted on our vital growth and development, limiting our access to potential, the freedom years to explore ourselves. Our generation’s education has been disrupted, we’ve been constantly poked with blame by the media for rises in cases, we are entering the workplace during a recession against the odds of older, experienced individuals.
I feel like young people have been heavily left out of the equation and support during the pandemic. I tried to contribute to local community projects such as running a virtual festival for mental health, speaking on BBC news about the unemployment crisis, encouraging businesses to become a more diverse and open workforce to those with disabilities, and addressing the current difficulties for young people on local run podcasts and discussions on our difficulties during this time.
In autumn of 2020, I began work on ‘Generation COVID - how young people responded to the COVID-19 crisis' with Rebecca at I have a voice. Which is an eBook that provides a space for young people to tell their own version of events through a story, poetry or art from their experience of the pandemic.
But of course, this entire project came along with small seeds of doubt. I questioned myself, why would anyone want to willingly remember this time, surely we would rather forget it? We were bombarded by the media’s uproar of whatever they could get their hands on. We felt fear, anger, frustration and restricted. So why would we want to document that?
In truth, no one likes to think about bad times, this has been the biggest crisis since the Second World War with millions of deaths worldwide. As a nation this has been a crisis that beforehand would have been unimaginable. But like the Second World War, we reflect on the times and struggles as a collective, what we went through together.
As we all hope to see the light at the end of the tunnel, it is important to hope that this time will also lead to happier times. What we can take away from our response to a modern-day crisis, will impact the way we shape our livelihoods forever.
This time made us realise what we take for granted and how agile and innovative we are. The element of human interaction, how important education is, how vital technology advances are and the togetherness and hope that we can still be strong within, regardless of our situation.
And I think it’s also important to mention that we as the public, have begun to realise the importance of citizenship and community, working together and helping those less fortunate than us, supporting and appreciating those on the front line and pushing for a better tomorrow. Becoming closer (emotionally – not physically) with friends, family and neighbours. And appreciating our local surroundings. As young people we also stood up, we lit up inequalities in the most desperate times of need and we rose together. Such as protesting for Black Lives Matter, sharing our symbols of hope with #blackouttuesday, securing free-school dinners for those most in need and uproar when insufficient packages tried to snoop under our radar. We are a powerful generation, more than the leaders want you to think. And this time has caused us to break out of our shells and power the world the way we want to, this is only the beginning.
Everybody has a story to take away from this, a memoir they will tell their grandkids one day. If you are aged between 16 – 24 please get in contact via the link below to submit your story.
Deadline 22nd Feb 2021
Also, please consider contributing to our crowdfunding page so that we can finance the production of this book and donate to 3 wonderful organisations who will receive 75% of profits
Closes 12th March 2021
Who we are supporting:
I have a voice CIC
Aspects Trust CIO
More than ever, our voices are the most powerful tool. For many years to come our stories, our reflection, our change and our inspiration will be noted in history.
As we head towards the new normal, what do you want to tell?
Grace Spicer - Aged 19
Grace Spicer is also an ambassador for the Disability confident campaign with I have a voice.
Read more about the Disability confident campaign:
Purple Tuesday blog post: https://www.ihaveavoice.org.uk/purple-tuesday-and-the-disability-confident-scheme
Written parliamentary evidence (DEG0139) Disability Employment Gap https://committees.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/19233/pdf/