#LeadTheNewNormal: A campaign where young people redefine their post-COVID reality
2nd – Jennifer Griggs
3rd – Emiliano Reyes
Young People, COVID-19 and post-pandemic reality
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit hardest the world’s 1.8 billion young people between the ages of 10 to 24 – the largest generation of young people in its history. Youth marginalization is being further compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, whether it be young peoples’ access to “regular” education, their future of work, their social and family lives or their mental health. Everything has changed.
COVID-19 has further compromised meaningful engagement and participation of young people in sustainable development and peace, because the conditions that allow them to reach and unleash their full potential are undermined. Following the World Health Organization’s classification of COVID-19 as a global pandemic, governments all around the world are responding by enforcing measures such as social-distancing, quarantine and isolation. While necessary, these measures can severely compromise access, inclusion and participation, due to some of the restrictive physical, social and other barriers.
For this reason, the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth launched the #LeadTheNewNormal campaign as a platform for young people to come forward, express their COVID-19 reality, redefine their “new normal” and provide their ideas, solutions and suggestions, to build a better future.
No matter where we are, where we come from, our age, wealth, health, ability, gender or identity, we are all affected by COVID-19. Since the very beginning of this crisis, young people all over the world joined forces and contributed with an unprecedented rigour to the global response against the pandemic – not only for their own benefit but for the good of their families, loved ones and communities. These young people run effective initiatives to spread awareness, practices like handwashing, volunteering, even research and innovation to fight at the frontline with health care and essential workers.
Young people’s solidarity, hopes and strength are showing the world how, together, we can overcome anything; even a global pandemic. Young people are demonstrating, through their resilience and dexterity, how the world can navigate through an altered reality. If this resilience is the new normal, then young people are showing the world how to #LeadTheNewNormal.
What does your “new normal” look like?
So, let’s scale this up! Join this new campaign to #LeadTheNewNormal. With this campaign I want to bring together your voices and actions. I want to facilitate a dialogue among young peers on the future we want to achieve by rebuilding our social, political, economic and cultural fabric together in solidarity. How do we do this? By meeting young people where they are and listening to their stories! How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic? How are you coping? What does your “new normal” look like? What does #LeadTheNewNormal mean to you?
It is important that we keep in mind that we will recover from this pandemic and we determine this recovery with the actions we take and the choices we make right now. How can we transform this crisis into an opportunity to make the world better than it was before COVID-19?