Today’s guest columnist is Maury Shevin.
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Never has the expression “we’re all in this together” rung with more truth than during this COVID-19 pandemic.
News about the pandemic—its societal, political and economic consequences—pervades our every waking moment. And, regrettably, it too often interferes with our sleep—and our dreams.
Is there anything “good” that can come out of this mess? Only time will really reveal the answer to this question. But, I want to take a moment now to reflect on what good may come to the City of Birmingham from all of the current mishegas.
In my judgment, Birmingham is well positioned to not only quickly rebound from the pandemic, but to grow as a result of it. And, let me tell you why.
First and foremost, Birmingham retains its deserved reputation for world-class health care and research facilities that are on the cutting edge for treatment of and research into the cure for the virus. This will make us a Mecca for the current and the next generation of scientists and researchers who will undoubtedly grow out of the pandemic. So what?
Well, whenever there has been a singularly important event in our history, such event creates a generation informed by it and that wants to be a part of it. In my parents’ generation, young people wanted to be soldiers and sailors and Rosie the Riveters who would win World War II; and then the doctors and scientists who would discover the cure for polio.
The common goal of my generation was to become astronauts and win the space race against the Russians. And, then for my children’s’ generation—the 9/11 generation—many wanted to become the first responders or even intelligence officers to fight global terrorism. Crises inevitably generate results. Birmingham will reap the benefit from this crisis.
Secondly, Birmingham enjoys a quality of life that is difficult to find in more densely populated cities. Let’s admit it: the weather during our March and April quarantine has been nothing short of glorious! And with the physical space surrounding our homes that many of us enjoy—whether suburban or urban loft, apartment or condo—we do not live crammed-in on top of one another.
The anecdotal evidence is that many people in our extended families returned “home” to Birmingham from New York City, Chicago, Seattle, Dallas and Houston—to wait out the storm. I suggest that many of the young people who have come home are finding that the quality of life in Birmingham is remarkable.
Third, Birmingham enjoys an entrepreneurial and tech culture that is well serving us through this pandemic. Whether it is the development of new and better personal protection equipment, or new and better methods for delivery of goods and services, Birmingham’s people and businesses are leaders.
And, what about those of us who have worked from home? Once we found our rhythm, we have been able to use the many resources available to us here—in Birmingham—to be successful.
Finally, there is something more difficult to identify. It is a quality in our DNA in the people of this City that encourages us to help one another when times are tough. Yes, the government at every level plays an important role. But, our faith communities and our social action agencies are the hidden gems. People helping people, is what makes us special.
So, you may call me a Pollyanna. However, I look at our parks and open spaces, at our entertainment venues and restaurants, at our colleges and universities, and at our start-up and established businesses—that will reopen—and, I am absolutely convinced that Birmingham is going to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic better positioned than ever before.
Maury Shevin—passionate about the City of Birmingham–lives, works, thinks and plays on Birmingham’s Southside.
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David Sher is Co-Founder of AmSher Compassionate Collections. He’s past Chairman of the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce (BBA), Operation New Birmingham (REV Birmingham), and the City Action Partnership (CAP).
Invite David to speak for free to your group about how we can have a more prosperous metro Birmingham. email@example.com.