Letter from the editor: COVID-19

By Bec Bridges

We are coping with an unprecedented public health crisis. The ripple effects across our communities, our environment, our economy, our political system, and the whole spectrum of ways it will play out in our daily lives reveal themselves more each day.

The crisis has strained our systems and magnified their flaws. However, our experiences during the crisis can be used to light the way towards fairer and healthier, rights-respecting systems that serve all our communities equally.

Dealing with the unfolding crisis involves practicing kindness and compassion, and supporting each other however we can, particularly our vulnerable communities, the immune-compromised, the elderly, our First Nations people, people experiencing homelessness, casual workers and health workers.

For Right Now, it means continuing to foster and share the stories, research and perspectives to help shape better systems and institutions that respect and uphold human rights.

We have spent the last 15 years publishing stories, analysis, poetry and prose on all things human rights related in Australia and around the world. We believe that at the heart of any healthy democracy is an independent and conscientious Fourth Estate.

We believe that our legacy of discussion, interrogation and coverage of human rights, equality and justice in Australia has built a strong foundation for our future. But we are acutely aware of the challenges that face an already depleted media, and the artists and writers that have been impacted by this crisis.

We are committed to continuing to provide a platform for writers and artists, to uphold our commitment to coverage of the things we’ve always cared about and to begin to cover the new ways that this crisis has and will impact on all of our lives.

The essential need to continue this kind of work was emphasised in a statement from the Human Rights Law Centre in March:

“In the face of so much change and uncertainty, fighting injustice and defending human rights – particularly the rights of the most vulnerable in our community – becomes more important than ever.”

 

WHAT WE’RE DOING AT RIGHT NOW

We began this year in pursuit of four editorial pillars: climate justice, First Nations justice, the state of our democracy and digital rights.

In acknowledgement of the rapidly changing human rights landscape, we have reconceived these pillars and made some additions to our editorial focuses for the year.

We’d love to hear your ideas and suggestions if you care to share them.

 

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Right now, human rights and human connection are paramount to our well being.

I want to understand how the pandemic is playing out in your life and what it has got you thinking about. What does this pandemic mean for you? What would you like to see us cover? Whose work would you like to see us supporting? Share your feedback with us and let’s find out what a better future can look like for all of us, together.

 

I urge you all to stay safe and stay kind; to ask for help and to offer it. And finally, thank you for supporting independent, online journalism.

 

Warmly,

Bec Bridges

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