It has been 7 months since I stood on a chair in-front of the patrons of Giveadelphia’s Love Back Ball and declared via limerick that we all need to harden-up and “not be soft" in reference to impacting the world, standing up for others and giving back (see below video).
Well, wow. The world has changed and maybe I was wrong; maybe being soft was a luxury we all (though definitely, I) unknowingly took for granted. Quarantine has forcefully toughened all of us - though I question at what cost? We began 2020 as a society able to frequent public gatherings, sporting events, museums, and parties without pause. Now, even the simple task of opening a window and touching a door handle has elements that scare us.
I fear for the arts.
I fear for the societal impact and lack of social interactivity which will come out of this.
I fear a culture that forgets basic codes of contact - how to mingle, how to meet in-person, eye contact, sympathy, chivalry - and being arbitrary or random.
Will we even shake hands after the pandemic subsides?
Our society used to chuckle at the obsessive compulsive - now have we all become one? Perhaps. And perhaps out of necessity.
I am so proud of the many who have seized the moment to care for others in the unique way the pandemic has invoked - the people who not only say “I need a mask,” but continue with “I need to get others masks too.”
I am inspired by the civil rights activists who step-up and say ‘we can do better.”
I am humbled by the social entrepreneurs who are launching pop-up restaurants in big cities - ghost kitchens feeding masses and more importantly creating jobs and generating tax dollars.
RELIEF raised thousands of dollars from the Love Back Ball and we had numerous global trips planned - those funds have now been repurposed - helping provide personal protective equipment (PPE) and important information to victims of the pandemic (which you can read more about here). And instead we find ourselves asking - will we ever have a group trip again? What will it look like?
At RELIEF, we hold immense gratitude for Giveadelphia and their network of people who care to give back. We had an amazing time at The Love Back Ball and I can say with conviction that as one of the last mass gatherings in Philadelphia,... it was, and most likely will remain, the best evening of 2020.
I ask you not to stop there. Keep learning about what RELIEF is doing and join us while we seek to change the world. Head to www.therelieffoundation.org to find out how to get involved, or reach out to Giveadelphia for more information on the alumni network.
Peter Groverman Esq.
Co-Founder & President
The RELIEF Foundation
Giveadelphia Alumni Advisor