The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of convenience and comfort, but where he stands at times of controversy."
- Martin Luther King Jr.
By Gillian Smith-Clark
Editor in Chief,
Gillian is a photographic artist and freelance writer/photographer. You can view her work on her website at amodernportrait.com.
In early March, our team was busy working on a webcast on toxic masculinity and our Hot Topics were focused mainly on issues like the upcoming exam season, writing tips, and another Flash Fiction event. Like many people, COVID-19 was on my radar screen and I was concerned, not panicked. But I didn’t envision the way in which our world would soon be turned so completely upside down. Consequently, the focus of Inspire Magazine has shifted 180 degrees for this issue.
A few days after the global pandemic was declared, I was driving home with my family from a March break ski trip that was cut short. It felt a lot like we were living in a sci-fi movie: a glitch in The Matrix, an episode of Stranger Things or the Twilight Zone. In fact, I occasionally hear the iconic Twilight Zone music in my head when I walk my dogs through our quiet neighbourhood, or go the grocery store... but that's another story.
So, once a state of emergency was declared in Ontario, I quickly realised that we needed to drastically change the direction of the content for the April/May issue of Inspire. The decision was made to put out an issue that centres around the theme of hope, pulling together a collection of topics and resources to help our readers and followers navigate through the storm that is COVID-19.
Andrew and Sam Hall tabled their toxic masculinity webcast and instead put together an outstanding discussion on how the COVID-19 crisis is affecting young people. You can watch it here via our landing page. I reached out to our team of writers, and we adjusted the Hot Topics section to provide you with some tools and different perspectives on coping with the pandemic. Writer and poet Asante Haughton generously agreed to let us use his powerful spoken word poem, Unsinkable, also viewable on our landing page. It is also a great time to take in Haughton's article Change is Possible, from a previous issue of Inspire, if you haven't read it already.
To push back against some of the negativity that's circulating right now, we launched a spontaneous Art Challenge on Instagram and asked for submissions from visual artists on the theme of hope. There are some truly beautiful images to inspire you. And last but not least, we pulled together a special section on COVID-19 in our Resources section, with links to credible sources of information on both physical and mental health. We will continue to update both the Hot Topics section and the Resources page as new information comes in, so check back often for updates.
Finally, if you are struggling right now, I hope you’ll find some relief, guidance and inspiration in this issue of Inspire. We truly are stronger together.
Stay home, and stay safe!