Using Privilege for Power

Katherine Whelan ’20

With each coming day, 2020 ceaselessly proves to be a rollercoaster ride upon which no one was prepared to embark. The damaging effects of COVID-19 have reached every corner of our world and created an inescapable bubble of negativity: dinner table conversations have gone from light-hearted chit-chat to serious COVID-related discussion; local restaurants and businesses are shutting down; the busiest city streets are desolate. Family, friends, and loved ones are isolated from one another; there are more people sick and dying than in previous world wars. Yet, amid the darkness, there is light. Together, the American people have, and will continue to, fearlessly combat the pandemic together.

As our heroic healthcare and hospital workers on the front line continue to work tirelessly, countless other notable figures and celebrities in our country have stepped up to take part in the fight. One of the first to make her mark was Lady Gaga, who organized a World Health Organization benefit concert on April 18th and raised over 35 million dollars for protective equipment for health care workers. Stephan and Ayesha Curry began a Feeding America Online fundraiser that, as of April 2, has raised more than 160,000 dollars for children who depend on their school for meals. Jay-Z and Meek Mill have donated 100,000 surgical masks to inmates in jails and prisons all over the country who are overlooked, yet easily exposed to the virus. In addition to money donations, celebrities have put forth their raw time and talents to lift the spirits of the American people as well. “Instagram lives” have become much more popular, as artists such as Thomas Rhett and John Legend have given live performances. Show hosts such as Jimmy Fallon from the Tonight Show have continued to stream from their homes. Comedians, actors, actresses, dancers, chefs, and social media influencers have all taken their time to share as much joy and laughter as possible online.

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Though celebrities have economic advantages over the rest of the population, some have shown that they are willing to spread their wealth for a greater cause and, by doing so, have extended hope to those in the midst of tragedy. It is now apparent that, in order to survive COVID-19, we need leaders in our world to be examples of positivity and strength. By using privilege as power, these more fortunate individuals of society can continue to have an immeasurable impact on the adversity that COVID-19 brings to our country every day.