By VIEW deputy editor Kathryn Johnston
This special issue of VIEW is the story of those who have rallied to help their fellow citizens during a global outbreak that has changed how we all live.
In years to come, what will history record about the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020? We will, of course, remember those who have died and suffered during the first wave, now hopefully drawing to a close.
And we all hope that any second wave which may come will be met with increased knowledge, awareness, and preparedness.
There is no doubt that our first duty will be to never forget all those who died during the pandemic. And also those whose businesses are struggling, and the people who have lost their jobs.
Also all of the vulnerable, who have been forced to cocoon in order to shield themselves from infection.
But history must also record the courage, the inspiration, and the resolve of so many who fought coronavirus: key workers in the NHS, the police, mail delivery staff, council workers, the fire service, social workers and those in charities and social enterprises. Not forgetting all those who volunteered, who made masks, raised money for PPE, delivered essential prescriptions to people in their homes, and those who worked with the hungry and the homeless. And nowhere more so than here in Northern Ireland.
This special issue of VIEW, is guest edited by Paul McCusker, Deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast and co-founder of St Patrick’s Soup Kitchen, who pays tribute to all those who rose to the challenge to fight against the pandemic.
Paul writes: “I have personally experienced a community spirit and togetherness that we in north Belfast can be very proud of.”
And the people of north Belfast are not alone. From Sean Smyth in west Belfast, to Geoff Aiken of north Antrim, from Edel Gribbin in Tyrone, to Maryam Youseff – the mother of nine children who are still living in Somalia – who now provides housing support with Homeplus NI, a charity which helps homeless people, refugees and asylum seekers.
Maya Angelou, the civil rights activist and writer, who died in 2014, once said: “I think a hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for all people.”
Those we write about in this issue of VIEW, like so many others right across these islands and throughout the world, are heroes of the pandemic. We salute them all. And we will remember them.