Representative Vance Aloupis: Our world has changed. Our humanity has not.

A bipartisan look at the 2019 Legislative Session
Florida State Representative Vance Aloupis.

My phone rang yesterday. It was a call from someone with whom I had not spoken in years. She had seen a news story about a food distribution being held in South Dade, where more than 700 families had lined up for hours to receive groceries. As she watched dozens of volunteers place fresh produce into bags, pile boxes, and place pineapples and cereal and milk into the trunks of cars, she noticed that a handful of workers were not wearing masks.

“I want to help,” she told me. “I know that people are struggling to find masks, so I’ve been sewing them myself. Do you think the food banks might need them?” Her question – more importantly, her spirit – will mean that dozens of volunteers distributing food to thousands of families in need will be protected.

Our world has changed. Our humanity has not.

A quick scroll through Facebook, while filled with news about the seriousness of the outbreak, should also remind each of us of the inherent good in people. The “drive-by” birthday parties for young children. (My family attended one yesterday.) The family who left toilet paper and sanitizer at the door for delivery men and women. The students holding “we love our teacher” signs on their webcams as they begin their day of virtual learning.

This week, Holy Week, has always been spent in the company of family and friends at home and in places of worship, but social distancing now makes that an impossibility. But hope and faith is not lost. A young pastor in our community put it best when he said, “while we may need to be socially distant, we do not have to be spiritually distant.” Whether you view his words through the lens of religion or not, I believe it is a powerful reminder of the strength of our communities. Our spirit is strong. Our eagerness to help our neighbors in need and our gratitude for those who serve are greater than ever.

In the weeks ahead, our spirit will be tested. Perhaps more and more each day. As we begin to emerge from this pandemic, our questions will be different, our challenges will be new, but we will move forward together. We will move forward because our community has a spirit of caring, a spirit of giving, a spirit of resiliency.

We have overcome remarkable tragedies before, and we have always emerged stronger. Our strength is in our people. There are superheroes all around us. They’ve traded their capes for a mask – and they’re doing what they can to preserve hope through this time of trial. Christopher Reeve, the man many of us came to know as Superman, said it best: “Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.” Our family is praying for yours. Let us continue to keep our eyes and spirits focused on hope. And let us never forget that anything is possible when our community comes together.

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