ALEXANDRIA, VA – COVID-19 has had a severe impact on communities all around the world, and Alexandria is no exception to this. We, along with our loved ones, have all had to adapt to the changes the virus causes in our towns, and unfortunately, many of us have had no means of openly talking about the effect COVID has had on our lives.
Fortunately, on August 15th at 3pm, Washington Street United Methodist Church, in partnership with ACT for Alexandria, will be hosting a panel to discuss the impacts of COVID-19 in the community. This will look at how community members can support the responsive effort in the area. This panel also provides an opportunity for Alexandrians to listen to community leaders speak on the impact the pandemic had on the city’s residents, and how these affect the community as a whole.
The panel will be moderated by ACT for Alexandria. Panelists will include Kate Garvey (DCHS), Jennifer Ayers (ALIVE!), Heather Peeler, Evelin Urrutia and Rev. Kameron Wilds (Rising Hope Mission Church). Each of these panelists’ are prominent figures in the Alexandria community, and when asked why each member was selected, Rev. Thomas James stated that he wanted the panel to include, “Leaders who were working on the ground with families, who could speak to the tangible impacts being felt by residents in the community. We also wanted panelists who were leading the response efforts around the city, and who could speak to the ways the greater community can join in the responsive effort.”
Despite all of us having different experiences with the pandemic throughout the past year, Rev. Thomas James believes that by giving the public a means of discussion about how they were impacted, the community will have a chance to learn and listen to those around them. “We hope this panel discussion provides a springboard to provoke engagement in the community,” Rev. Thomas James continued, “Inviting every resident to consider the well-being of the community and themselves.”
When asked how this panel and discussion would benefit the community, Rev. Thomas James claimed that, “Understanding what is happening and what has happened in the community, even if it doesn’t seemingly affect you directly, is vital to building a healthy and equitable society.”
Located at the Washington Street United Methodist Church, the panel is set up to maintain proper social distancing practices and ensure the safety of both the guests and panelists who are in attendance. Mask and hand sanitization will be required and present, and for those who are still wary of attending in person, the event will be recorded and put online for future viewing. Furthermore, the livestream of the panel can currently be found HERE.
The panel will also feature a video produced by Rising Hope United Methodist Mission Church to tell people’s COVID-19 stories, which can be found HERE.