Running Thread: New Reasons for Hope in the Fight Against COVID-19

Summer months invite us to respite and recreation. This summer has, gratefully, offered me some of both. Still, as our nation and world continue to battle this pandemic, it’s also been an unusual time of uncertainty.   

COVID-19, and our collective see-sawing push to overcome it, raises big questions for all of us. I both lionize the idea of progress as steady improvement and note recurrent tragedies. We have made remarkable gains toward overcoming COVID-19, but those gains are uneven, and we have also seen the emergence of a new and highly infectious strain. We have recovered physical closeness with loved ones and friends, and we are watching COVID-19 cases soar in areas where vaccination rates are low. We catch wind of shifting mask protocols in schools and cities. We are unsure about how to best protect children who cannot be vaccinated yet. In short, there is progress and there is cyclicality.   

Make no mistake, though – there is a reason for hope.  Through IFYC’s polling partnership with PRRI, we can better understand changing attitudes around vaccination as it correlates with religious identity. Our joint March survey shed light on which groups had the most hesitancy and how we might persuade the persuadable through faith-based interventions.   

This coming Wednesday, July 28th, with PRRI and our partners at Rush University Medical Center, we will reveal and discuss a new set of national survey insights. John Palfrey, President of Chicago’s John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, is graciously hosting the conversation and all are invited to attend. It will serve as a major press release, data launch, and community connection, and we’d love to see you there.   

While I can’t tease the findings, we believe you will find hope at the intersection of vaccination and the engagement of faith identity. You will come away with a better understanding of why and how we’ve made real progress, and how we can move ahead effectively in facing new challenges.   

As the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. echoed Theodore Parker, ‘the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.’ Let’s bend it together.   

If you are looking for a way to become an interfaith leader, work for racial equity and build bridges, please check out our free curriculum "We Are Each Other's" and start your interfaith leadership today

more from IFYC

Studies show houses of worship have provided solace during the pandemic, but companies across the U.S. are struggling to respond to requests for religious exemptions to vaccine mandates.
Catholics leaders have urged vaccination to "protect the most vulnerable," and studies show this outreach is helping improve vaccination rates among Latino Catholics.
Across the country, people from all political divides, faiths and walks of life are coming together to help resettle Afghan refugees arriving at the borders.
The first episode of “Home Sweet Home,” which DuVernay said prioritizes curiosity over conflict, features the Wixx family — a “super queer” Black couple with three children.
Each week, we share our top 10 religion stories from journals, news sites, podcasts and magazines.
Dr. Abel Gomez: "If we’re talking about interfaith work and we want to expand the ability of communities to practice their religious ceremonies, I ask my students: if we think about the experience of Native people under the occupation of the United States, do they actually have religious freedom?"
The Fisk Jubilee Singers, based at the historically Black university founded by the abolitionist American Missionary Association and later tied to the United Church of Christ, started traveling 150 years ago on Oct. 6, 1871.
The last several months have been catastrophic for Haiti. The Aug. 14 earthquake left more than 2,200 people dead, followed by Tropical Depression Grace two days later. The country’s political sector has been in disarray & over 22,000 people have officially died during the pandemic.
Apache Stronghold will take part in a day of prayer Saturday (Oct. 9) at Oak Flat before meeting with leaders of the Tohono O’odham Nation, who will offer a blessing and prayer for their travels.

The opinions contained in this piece are solely the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Interfaith Youth Core. Interfaith America encourages a wide range of views and strives to maintain a respectful tone with a goal of greater understanding and cooperation between people of different faiths, worldviews, and traditions.