Columbia Community Reflects on the Pandemic

Illustration by Julie Winegard

To make sense together of this unprecedented time, Columbia News has launched “Lessons Learned,” an essay series that invites the Columbia community to reflect on the pandemic and their personal COVID-19 experiences. These stories, which are often told in the first person, speak to the creativity and resourcefulness we are witnessing during this challenge, as well as the positive steps we each are taking to meet the moment.

Professor Rita Charon, chair of the Department of Medical Humanities and Ethics at Columbia and executive director of Columbia Narrative Medicine, wrote a “Lessons Learned” essay about our roles as storytellers of COVID inequalities today.

“We could not know at the outset of the COVID pandemic that, amid all the suffering and death it has caused, it might awaken America to its responsibilities to justice,” said Charon. “Is there a chance that we will engage—in however many years it will take—as a sobered America, a humbled America, an anti-racist America?” Learn more.

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