Nkiru Anyaegbunam, Hunter College 2020
(Essay Contestant Semi-Finalist)
The history of the world is filled with violence. The act and receiving of violence are endemic to society and exacerbating in the conception of a modern state. The eruption of COVID-19 upon this uneven terrain becomes just another ridge in the tragedy of man and society. Yet, as a living participant of this pandemic I have found myself completely changed. This transformation is far greater, than the molding of prolific writers that use their pens to push notions of justice, equality and equity. As a Black woman living in New York City, this pandemic has exacerbated the violence that has stemmed from injustice, seemingly covered in concrete. It is through this lens that issues such as racism, classism and xenophobia become more than topics of political discourse but enter the conscience of those intimately affected and those not.
This pandemic has not changed the substructures of society but has made it overt. Due to this, my academic, career and personal goals have been greatly affected. As someone who initially aspired to become a lawyer and procure a sense of justice that reflects the multi-plurality of Queens – the borough I grew up in – I have realized this is not enough. The greatest effects of this pandemic have been on individuals who are already pushed to the margins of our society. These marginalized individuals have routinely fought wars through social and economic targeted constraints. COVID-19 has intensified the struggles of these individuals, as an immediate threat to their life that intersects with others. As a witness to the death and poverty that this pandemic has heightened, the law is not a singular route to justice. Justice begins at the ends of a convening road of promises that is only built upon the backdrop of change.
To realize this justice, I have decided to face the world’s history through an interdisciplinary focus. One that does not ignore the value of one discipline over the other. This pandemic has showed us the life of an individual within a society, specifically a modern state, is contingent on a wide variety of factors. These factors are best understood through various disciplines. By understanding our history, facing it continuously even as the global health crisis cedes, opening dialogue and accepting varying opinions, we are planting the seeds of change. Nothing can be changed if it is hidden, obscured or forgotten. This pandemic has illustrated how the darkest parts of history surface violently in times of crisis.
In the coming year, I hope to attain a Graduate degree, publishing papers that contribute to one-sided or all but silent conversations. Through my research and academic writing, I hope to exemplify the need for an interdisciplinary approach to various questions. Equipped with a Graduate degree, I plan to enter a law school ready to work hard in the fight for, and upholding of justice, law and order. This pandemic has greatly influenced my academic and career trajectory by pushing me to help create a discussion of a world I want to see. The lives of those that have been cut short at the hands of this pandemic has become a light to the path I want to walk.