By Maurice Carter, Sustainable Newton President
I remember vividly the last time I saw my fellow Sustainable Newton Board members in person, on the evening of March 9, gathered around a table in our usual meeting room at First Presbyterian Church of Covington.
Three days earlier, 21 cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed on a cruise ship off the California coast, and the disease had reached a nursing home in Washington state. But the World Health Organization had yet to declare a pandemic.
Still, I recall the awkward silence when a colleague sneezed several times. "Bless you," we said out loud, but our body language was a little more complicated. We adjourned at the end of the meeting without saying so, but I suspected we might not see each other again for a month or two.
And, then, all Hell broke loose.
This coming Monday night will our ninth monthly board meeting held via Zoom. Those first couple, it was hard to focus. We had much larger concerns, and it was an unfamiliar way to collaborate. The sadness and anxiety were debilitating.
That was then, but this is now. And with this strange, sad, trying year drawing to a close, I'm able to see how much we still accomplished by adapting and remaining committed to our purpose. That's only true because everyone else adapted with us. You stayed engaged, you cared like we have, and we made good things happen.
The photo above was taken by my wife near the garden she and I tended through spring, summer, and fall -- a great distraction from the terror gripping the outside world and our isolation in that moment. I wore that shirt often in April and May especially, because we really are "all in this together." And, that's made all the difference for Sustainable Newton. I want to thank the many individuals and organizations who helped us stay focused and maintain momentum by hosting virtual events throughout the year, including:
We will forever mourn the lives of family, friends, and fellow Americans lost during this tragic moment, and we ache for everyone impacted physically, emotionally, and financially. But, we will also remember proudly that we made the best of a difficult situation.
We are all in this together! And we can't tell you how much that means!!
I can't wait for the day widely distributed vaccines and proven therapeutics mean we can gather safely in one place again. I miss my teammates and our friends! But, until then, we'll keep doing everything we can to be an effective grassroots organization in a virtual world. We've got great ideas for what comes next!
In our board and membership meeting Monday night, we'll be electing board members and officers for 2021. We hope you'll join us in the coming year, as we continue living out our motto:
There's no time like the present to give our children a better future.