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Lew Sitzer: Crisis and opportunity

Lew Sitzer
Other Voices

First, I want to applaud all of the efforts being made to control or at least deal with the COVID-19 virus. It shows how Americans and others worldwide are able to respond both individually and governmentally.

In the absence of substantial governmental actions at the national level, we have taken on the responsibilities statewide, countywide, community-wide and as individuals to prepare for the virus by improving hygiene, shopping, canceling events and closing schools as well as boosting and supporting efforts to protect our children and ourselves.

This latest crisis, added to the ones we have been experiencing lately — drought, massive fires, power outages, climate extremes and now a global virus — brings us a perfect storm of threats and challenges, moving us to take responsibility for ourselves in a way not seen since World War II. We are seeing as a country, a world and a community, issues that demand our attention and action.

It is encouraging to realize that we have the resolve to do something about our condition, especially at the local level. We are best at the local level and we are best in a crisis, such as the 49er Fire that brought us all together.

About what to do? Take this time out as a way to be with loved ones, family and friends. Take time to listen to the national debate about where our country is headed and how we would like to influence that here at home.

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Take this time to enjoy the beauty of the natural world we live in. Go for walks, see the absolute beauty of where we live and explore how we would like to live in the future. We are calling for a “time out,” much like a sports team. Get coaching, talk with your teammates, problem-solve how to pay the bills, stay in business, and move to a more sustainable life.

This means, as a community, how do we best deal with food shortages, health issues, hospital overwhelm, protecting the most vulnerable and how to communicate now that we are not meeting in public? It is a time to explore a new paradigm of neighborhood and community organizing.

We need leadership at the governmental, nonprofit and local levels. We need ways to come together without meeting in public places. Technology provides some of the answers. We need to use the social platforms, like Zoom, Skype and FaceTime to form alliances and agreements. We need to read and listen to one another, especially to social leaders that propose reasonable ways and actions to move forward.

Some examples of this would be using existing local organizations like Firewise Communities, faith-based groups, social groups and local nonprofits that already exist to form support groups. We need to organize our neighborhoods to be more responsible in caring and supporting one another.

We need to use our social platforms, The Union, KNCO, KVMR, Nevada County Media (NCTV) and YubaNet to better understand our local needs and provide next steps.

This crisis is an opportunity for us to be a community that helps all of us to better survive and experience a quality of life we would all choose.

Lew Sitzer lives in Nevada City.


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