MURRAY – The Better Together Program will be broadcasting a video Friday about the importance of community togetherness and how COVID-19 is affecting children. The video will be posted on their Facebook page.
The program, started by Michael Robinson and Steven Hunter, began during the early stages of COVID-19 to raise community awareness about issues and encourage positive discussions.
“Steven and I were talking about things that were happening and what we were seeing (in the community) and we decided to sit down and have coffee and talk,” Robinson said. “We were seeing that it was really difficult for people to have a positive conversation about what was happening in the world, whether it would be politics or (COVID-19) numbers.”
Robinson is a teacher at Murray High School, but he said that the program is not affiliated with the school at all.
“I am not doing this as an educator or as a teacher,” Robinson said. “This is something that I am doing as a member of the community that I love. I was born and raised here and have lived here almost all my life and I just want to try to do my part and encourage people to do good things and think about others.”
Their first video was posted in July of 2020 and had ministers from all backgrounds urge the community to be kind and to follow the precautions for COVID-19. After having great responses from the first video, Hunter and Robinson decided to address other problems the community was divided on. Robinson explained those topics involved race, the statue on the downtown court square and students getting ready to go back to school.
The video that will broadcast Friday will be the first video they have done since August and will be focused on how the pandemic has affected children.
“Who is this pandemic impacting the most right now?” Robinson asked. “Sadly, it’s young people, and that’s where Steven and I said they need a voice, to be able to talk about this issue and how it is impacting them. And that is where we invited a student from Murray and a student from Calloway to be a part of the discussion along with Dr. (Nicholas) O’Dell from the Murray-Calloway Hospital, who deals with COVID patients here in our community.”
The students who Robinson mentioned are Caroline Koenig, senior at Murray High, and Sam Rudy, freshman at Calloway County High School. Both students are on the speech team at their respected schools and feel strongly on the issue.
“It was very eye-opening to see how the pandemic has affected these young people,” Robinson said. “I think we have taken for granted how it’s impacting them and instead of seeing the virus as having a big impact on their life, we are looking at it saying, ‘Well, it usually doesn’t harm young people, so we are not going to worry about them.’ This is harming because it has so many different meanings, and yes, they might get sick, but harm can come in other forms such as students having to wear masks every day at school and, of course, students having to keep social distancing and not being able to participate in their extra curricular activities.”
Robinson urges adults to step back and listen to younger people. He also said that adults have inadvertently put the weight of the pandemic on their shoulders when they should be helping them.
“We are not intentionally throwing pressure on kids, but we still are,” Robinson said. “Because we are not looking at how the pandemic fully impacts our community, we are simply thinking about those who are most at risk and we are not as focused on the education of those young people. When you have so much concern over regulations for masks and social distancing and how we are supposed to live our lives, there is a political battle. The politics should not be impacting those children.”
Robinson said that logic, reasoning and scientific evidence is what should be paving the way for these young people.
The No. 1 meaning that Robinson said he wanted to take away from the video is to be kind and thoughtful.
“There is a saying that I have, and I think it is important for us, and that is to be a good role model, always lead with love and make every moment count,” he said.