VOICE Opinion / Editorials

Editorial Cartoons - by John Whitehurst

Everyone Is Involved

Healthcare Workers and Educators Have Stepped Up!

Kudos to all the individuals and organizations who have stepped up to protect and serve our community, state, nation, and international visitors — especially healthcare workers and educators!

This pandemic and similar situations throughout history sort individuals and organizations according to their priorities and support for others, their families, and communities. As everyone is forced to carry on, it is important that contributors and their good work be recognized.

Healthcare workers have risked their lives, sometimes even endangering their loved ones, to provide care and protections for the most vulnerable and pandemic-affected individuals. They’ve offered a courageous effort to protect and serve others in our community, while experiencing high workloads, psychological distress, shortage of quality personal protective equipment, as well as social exclusion and stigmatization. But their efforts have worked to fast track our recovery.

Educators, from kindergarten to the university level have flexed to online learning and stepped up to be vaccinated for the good of young people, and their students’ physical wellbeing. These positive moves have given momentum and forward motion for the basic needs of our community regardless of the dangers.

Many essential workers and first responders have heeded the call to a higher commitment to the fundamental needs that have arisen during the pandemic. These actions and the attitude of caring have saved lives and protected our community, actions which place a higher value on others rather than one’s self. We often call this kind of sacrifice heroic.

While this good work continues on, others have asked for incentives to leverage their participation in stepping up. They have demanded individual freedoms over mutual well-being; sometimes this has been in direct contradiction of their purported mission to protect and serve our community. These individuals and organizations are ill-informed and subsequently irresponsible.  

With educator and medical care teams leading the way to serve and protect our community, we hope Sheriff Bill Brown’s leadership will bring his team into compliance with the standards they agreed to as an important component of their service to the Santa Barbara Community.  When all our teams are up and running and working together, our community will become safer and healthier in 2022.

Communities are formed by relationships that embrace the “common” of a multitude of interests and necessities. Our community will survive this ongoing adversity and our mutual challenges caused by COVID-19. Following the adversity of this pandemic, there will be many celebrations, awards, and accolades given to those who step up. This will become a part of the rich history of Santa Barbara. This call to protect and serve continues to go out to all.

December 31, 2021 
Because workforce housing is everyone’s challenge, and because the local minimum wage is not a living wage in Santa Barbara, the burden of changing the situation should not fall on one small group of people like landlords. The City Council should consider a significantly larger contribution to the Housing Authority as well as streamline the permitting process and their forgive fees. That will change the situation and benefit the entire community. ©John Whitehurst, December 31, 2021