Locking down, standing up

Photo by Ivan Sigal. Used with permission.

Dear GVers,

It’s now the beginning of June, and even though many of our countries are beginning to exit the lockdowns imposed in response to COVID-19, we know it will be some time before life returns to so-called “normal”, and we hope everyone is managing to stay healthy and safe.

While we're all working under conditions of additional stress, however, this continues to be a very productive time for GV. In May we published 112 stories and had almost 950,000 pageviews, and as of this morning we have produced 535 stories for the year. We’re deeply grateful for your work, and readers are too. Here are two comments we’ve received this month from readers who chose to make small online donations:

Now, more than ever, we must have the continued global perspective that the contributors write. I'm a language teacher and I often use your material in class; authentic and clear reporting is what I want young people to read in all languages.


Thank you for your focus on the triple crisis in eastern Africa. I didn't know because public radio and TV hadn't, to my knowledge, covered it.

GV has tended not to focus on domestic US issues, and a glance at our site shows that there are atrocities taking place in other parts of the world that never make it into the pages of international newspapers. But to write this message without mentioning the upheaval in the United States feels strange, especially as protests are taking place across the world in response.

Just a few miles from where Ivan lives in Washington, DC—a city with a long history of racial and economic segregation, and where the COVID-19 pandemic has hit communities of colour with exceptional force—police used teargas yesterday to disperse a peaceful protest so that Trump could stage a photo op, and today military vehicles are circulating in the streets. Other US-based GVers may be living in similar circumstances. As Ivan wrote yesterday on Instagram: “We have some democracy in this country, and some of us have rights, but we are very far from building [an] equal and just society.”

Those of us living in formerly colonised countries may also identify deeply with the experiences of black people in the US, and in ex-plantation economies like those in the Caribbean, where Georgia is from, the links are particularly strong—it’s notable that both Marcus Garvey and Malcolm X, key figures in the US civil rights struggle, have Caribbean roots. Having to grapple with systemic racism is also one of the tradeoffs people of colour from the sizeable Caribbean diaspora and elsewhere make when they emigrate to the United States.

In the midst of all the uncertainty, one bright spot remains: the pride we’re able to take in the work that we’re doing as an organisation, which would be impossible without your incredible efforts. Thank you again.

With gratitude,

Georgia and Ivan

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