By Dexter Hall
Definition of divergent
1a: moving or extending in different directions from a common point: diverging from each other divergent paths.
Definition of convergent
1: tending to move toward one point or to approach each other: CONVERGING convergent lines
I have been on a personal journey with family and friends, as well as friends of friends, to ensure they have received their COVID-19 vaccination. I have shared with many that I am “2-Shots In” referring to the Moderna vaccination.
More importantly, I have shared how this is helping me to move past the pandemic, while still using safe protocols. I’m beginning to do the things I enjoy most — things I have been inhibited from doing during the pandemic, such as travel, gatherings, concerts, and many more.
As we all move forward, I ponder which way our community will go and what will be left behind. Are we diverging or converging post-pandemic? Which path will we take?
Financially, each path carries its own weight of issues — some with good prospects and some with not-so-good prospects.
COVID-19 forced us all to work together, to converge, if we were to survive the health and economic apocalypse that could have engulfed us. We worked together for the greater good. During this convergence, COVID-19 helped uncover mass amounts of disparity in our community regarding health, education, and financial and economic security. Some of us were not surprised at all by these disparities because this is and has been our lived experience via work, life, or in my case both.
As these long-held disparities in financial and economic security were displayed openly for all to see, there was a movement or convergence of government, community, nonprofits, business leaders, and others. They came together to develop many initiatives, in some cases first-of-their-kind programming to help the LMI (low-to-moderate income) members of our community. These safety nets ensured the bottom didn’t drop out of our economic floor, which would have been catastrophic for all, including the “haves.”
COVID-19 put us all on a converging path of economic survivability and showed how working together provides a brighter path for our most vulnerable community members and also works for ALL Wacoans.
As we resume our pre-pandemic normal, we tend to diverge, to move away from working together, back to our corners, and away from our common goal of fighting COVID-19. I wonder what will be lost that was gained during our fight. And, as in any war, what will the spoils be?
Will we forget the financial and economic disparities that were put on display as many in our minority communities lost their jobs with no economic safety net?
Will we forget the struggles of our minority small business owners who lacked access to capital prior to COVID-19 and saw greater losses during the pandemic than their counterparts?
Will we forget how they asked for and still need “Targeted Technical Assistance” that works for them and not for the provider?
Will we forget the housing needs of our marginalized community as prices of goods to build housing have soared almost three times their pre-pandemic levels and which will ultimately widen the already wide Black/White housing and wealth gap and also lead to an “affordable rental” issue in our community?
I ask, are we on a path of converging or diverging post-pandemic?
Let us stay the course and “LIVE” like the pandemic is behind us but continuing to “WORK TOGETHER” as if the pandemic was still in front of us. Let us converge, not diverge, in our viewpoints on the economic security for all Wacoans.
At Prosper Waco we are working to address the financial and economic security for our marginalized communities in Waco. We invite you to join us in this fight that ultimately impacts all Wacoans. Please contact me at [email protected] for information on how you can be involved as we are converging together through the “City of Waco Financial Empowerment Blueprint.”
One for all and all for one.
Dexter Hall is chief of staff and senior content specialist for financial security with Prosper Waco. For more information on financial security contact Hall at [email protected].
The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email Ferrell Foster at [email protected].