IAYSP Statement on the Covid-19 Global Pandemic
The coronavirus pandemic is like a war in many ways, but it is also quite different. In combat, the main casualties are young people. They are the ones sent to the battlefield and risk making the ultimate sacrifice. But in this global viral war, the older people are the highest-risk group that have the most casualties. The youth, in large part, are spared the death and suffering caused by virus complications. This situation gives us hope because young people are capable of quickly rebuilding economies, their families, and nations. In the fight against this global pandemic, youth and students can contribute immensely in the following four areas.
First, let us be responsible. Washing our hands, social distancing, and wearing face masks is essential. But youth have the power and energy, not only to rebuild economies, but much more. They can care for the elderly and those less fortunate, and transmit hope while spreading love to the those around them.
Second, youth can be role models for social integrity and morality. It is crucial to have a strong sense of altruism, especially at this time, when the older people are the most vulnerable groups. Young people can help seniors with their grocery shopping or other essential needs. Even though we may be in lockdown and isolated, or maybe especially in these close quarters, but can all choose to be happy, optimistic, and share positivity around us.
Third, we encourage youth and students around the world to never let the COVID-19 pandemic stop them from serving their communities, nations, and the world. One YSP project is the, ‘Homebound Acts of Service’ Challenge (see the latest news of IAYSP.ORG). This challenge requires unprecedented innovations and youth can be the driving force behind novel ways to serve. Help at a food bank. Go shopping for a neighbor. Call a friend. Bake a cake. Do some needed repairs at home. Young people, especially, are the masters of social media and digital dialogue; let us use these platforms to spread uplifting content to shift the focus of the public from fears, anxiety, and stress to hope and encouragement.
Fourth, let us be empathetic with those less fortunate, including the older generation who have faced far greater pandemics, famines, and wars with far fewer resources than we have today. Empathizing with others can help you feel less lonely, more connected and valued. It also increases the likelihood that people will reach out and help others when they need it. Let us not underestimate the power of empathy and compassion; a single act of kindness can go a long way.
Our founder, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, recently said that the coronavirus pandemic has shown us the limitation of human initiative alone. As always, she asks us to turn to our faith in God and to be lights of the world. Let us “RISE” to the challenge and be the lights in the face of the darkness.
We will keep the victims of COVID-19 in our thoughts and prayers. At the same time, we salute the bravery and selflessness of the frontline workers who have put the safety and lives of others before themselves.
International Association of Youth and Students for Peace