They’re Fighting for our Lives!
For the residents of Mercy Home, life has been slow, repetitive and painfully boring since the pandemic started. Tabletop games, puzzles and television has supplemented their day program routine every day dragging into the weekend. The media has also consumed their lives and while normally the evening news would stir up little interest, the news cycle has become a never-ending report on what’s wrong with America. By living in urban neighborhoods of Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island, the residents can’t help but hear the marching and shouting from outside in the community.
Recently, the topic in America has focused on a police brutality case involving a black man who was accosted by a white police officer who knelt on his neck, then the man died shortly thereafter. The public outcry has been “Justice for George Floyd!” and “Black Lives Matter!”, a movement that has sparked protests all over the world with an emphasis on change. “They’re fighting for our lives!” a statement shouted by a female resident who expressed her sadness for George Floyd an was able to explain the meaning of the the protest. “It’s all so confusing” a male resident said solemnly because he could hear the protests from outside but expressed that he has no choice but to watch the news all day. “I hope everyone stays safe” said by a thoughtful male resident who expressed fear concerning his family members and friends. All three powerful statements fueled by emotion and awareness from a population who are often wrongly scrutinized for their intelligence.
Since March, their lives have been interrupted but now comes a new crisis that has impacted everyone. Our government has referred to COVID-19 as the “invisible enemy” because of the covert manner it has caused death and despair. However, our current crisis on discrimination is something that we have all seen for far too long whether living in a group home or working for an agency. Both events have significantly impacted the lives of those we care for and those we care about, but it also speaks to basic human emotions. These emotions have taught us that regardless of race, religion or disability, we all must fight for each other.
To help manage thoughts and feelings, we at Mercy Home hold monthly Self-Help Advocacy group meetings for our residents learn the power of self-expression. The group teaches the importance of coping strategies and ways to handle stressful experiences. If one of our residents is going through a tough time, positive approaches are highlighted in the group as supportive resources.