If We Could Turn Back Time...
It’s Jan 1. A new year begins.
After a night of revelry and celebration, there’s a swell of hope. Goals are set. Travel plans are made. Ways to enhance our lives are formulated—this year is going to be “the year.”
But a Hitchcockian-twist lurks in our story.
Just a few weeks into the new year, spring introduces an unscripted and cloaked, improvisational actor into our storyline.
A novel virus devastates the world.
Our dreams are quickly replaced with dismay, uncertainty, loss, and fear.
The healthcare systems are immediately strained. Healthcare workers, first responders, scientists, and public health specialists are taxed as they try to address the needs of the sick, while simultaneously providing a much-needed reassurance to the nation at large. Personal protection equipment and shelter-in-place orders become the go-to tools in limiting the disease’s impact—and hopefully managing towards a transition to recovery.
A government wrestles with the realities of businesses being shuttered, sky-high unemployment, and a future riddled with questions of “how long” and “how much”.
The systemic racism that plagues America from shore to shore and border to border disproportionately affects mortality in communities of color due to well-maintained structural health inequities that limit access and care. Prisons, in fact, the entire penal system—which houses a disproportionate number of African-Americans—become hot beds of viral transmission.
And while we could recount each page of this sordid tale, if you jump ahead, you’ll find that a recovery is achieved.
Now, you might have read this story thinking it reflected on our life in 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. But in fact, it is the tale of 1918, when our world was then facing the most devastating pandemic of modern times – the H1N1 influenza virus.
The pandemic of 1918, which lasted almost 15 months, did not destroy America and, some 100 years later, COVID will not destroy America.
Do You See What We See?
We are already setting the stage for a new recovery for America.
Entrepreneurs are building cottage industries and new ventures from their living rooms. National enterprises have been formed in a matter of days, leveraging online technology and social media platforms to connect disparate people from across the US.
The disproportionate share of mortality due to COVID-19 in communities of color exposes our past inability to effectively address racial injustices in our healthcare system. And while the solution to these inequities may be difficult, overcoming challenges is the foundation of our democracy.
America has routinely pulled itself up by the bootstraps to make itself bigger and better after every setback, and our recovery from COVID will be no different. The momentum exists to create an even more ambitious “new normal” serving all citizens under the red, white, and blue.
SOUNDOFF Presents RISE. A Future Perfect Recovery
We founded SOUNDOFF with a mission to represent a widely diverse community of people who find engagement in their individual “voices” and promote greater acceptance and tolerance.
No matter if it’s COVID recovery, Black Lives Matter, LGTBQ+ Pride, gender equality, voting, or pot legalization, we fuse fashion, art, graphic design, with the purpose of raising awareness, seeding conversations to create change, and giving everyone the chance to visually take a stand.
Our new Rise series of t-shirts and style essentials is a tribute to America’s recovery post-COVID. It is also a call to action for each of us to make that recovery truly sustainable.
Masks, face coverings and PPE are vital for every citizen—most critically for our frontline workers. Social distancing is still essential. Diligently being conscious of where we are, who we are with, where we are going, and how we are getting there must be top of mind. Sanitary maintenance and handwashing are foundational.
And what is great is that, these are not hard tasks. Yes, they are departures from the vision with which we started the year, but they can absolutely help get us back to some sense of normality—efficiently, and effectively.
Every city across the US has been affected by the invisible virus of COVID and the now very visible virus of racism.
Public transportation is one of the largest contributors to modern advancement and economic wealth for our largest cities, bringing together communities of color, gender, orientation, citizenship, and socio-economic orientation. These systems are now greatly challenged in both ridership and usage given the toils of the virus. They have also become center points of active management to defuse the riots and protests of racial injustices and police violence.
The hope and vision of our Rise series is that when we do emerge from this phase of recovery, we will see a new day dawn in our cities that not only celebrates the eradication of COVID but also reveals a truly united America.
Our ability to engage you with lifestyle products that elevate your voice and style also gives us the ability to support organizations fighting the good fight.
We routinely partner with groups that align with our design inspirations and social goals. That’s why we are proud to partner with the national organization #GetUsPPE with our Rise series.
#GetUsPPE is a grassroots movement founded by physicians, medical researchers, engineers, scientists, programmers, and concerned citizens working together to create a national platform to get personal protective equipment to healthcare providers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Every t-shirt we sell from the Rise series will help get two masks to frontline healthcare providers.
One mask at a time, we can make a difference in what kind of tomorrow we will have and ensure that we all get to see the dawn of America’s new day.
Daryl Sneed, CEO & Co-Founder/Co-Creative
Natasha Goburdhun, SOUNDOFF Editorial Contributor
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If you haven’t had a chance, check out Ciara’s Instagram video chat with her daughter following the Biden-Harris confirmed victory. What’s so amazing about this less than 45-second chat is that if you close your eyes while listening to her words, you imagine this same conversation happening across countless households around the globe.