By Claire Kenzie Seley
Goddard High School - Roswell, NM
The Influence of Ethical Principles through the Pandemic
Potter Stuart, a former Associate Justice to the Supreme Court once eloquently stated, “Ethics is knowing the difference between what you have the right to do and what is right to do.” This sentiment was put to the test in 2020, the year that will forever be associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only did COVID come as a challenge to the health of millions globally, but as a foil to the ethical fiber of these same individuals. Individuals were faced with the dilemma of sacrificing some of their own personal liberties, in exchange for the perceived safety of their fellow neighbors. This “greatest good for the greatest number” mentality proved to be a difficult path for many to travel. Yet, in such an uncertain time, by holding onto core ethical values and allowing them to guide my actions, I felt like my journey throughout the pandemic was more purposeful and deliberate.
The first step which signaled the beginning of the worldwide pandemic was when the stay at home order was issued. I was shocked. The week of spring break had just begun, and we were supposed to leave for vacation the following day. Plans were cancelled with no certainty that the trip would ever be rescheduled. A constant stream of news programs were broadcast and seemed to be dominating every form of media. The stay at home order mandated that residents were to not leave their homes, with the exception of essential jobs and trips for necessary goods. Going on vacation and spending time with friends did not fit in this criteria. It was easy to become overwhelmed and worried, but I came to understand that my actions could impact the lives of the people around me. By not reasoning ethically and following the rules, I could potentially bring illness to myself and those around me. Realizing this life or death nature of COVID gave me the determination to do everything I could to protect myself and others. My family and I chose to stay positive. We made special dinners, played board games, and watched movies, but most importantly, we stayed home.
State mask mandates came as an added precaution against the virus. Everyone was asked to trade a little of their own comfort to stop the spread. While masks could be uncomfortable, the scientific data and research was showing how they could be effective in our situation. I chose to wear a mask not because I was being made to, but because I felt it was the right decision. In a time of feeling vulnerable, wearing masks was something tangible that would make a difference.
Development of a vaccine that could keep COVID under control was a prevalent global priority. The sense of urgency was significant; as a result, several vaccines were developed. This soon was a reality in our lives, and hesitancy to get vaccinated became a widespread issue. In following the science, my parents and I gained confidence in the benefits of a COVID-19 vaccine. We understood that by being vaccinated, we could stifle the spread of the virus. Consequently, my parents received the vaccine as soon as they were eligible. With the recent approval of the Pfzier vaccine for those age twelve and above, I too can be vaccinated. In doing so, I am not only protecting myself but protecting others.
This past year has seemed long and at times frustrating. There has been much debate concerning whether all of the health guidelines were even necessary. Some had a difficult time getting past the idea that their actions could be detrimental to other people. Realizing early on that the choices I made could literally have a life or death impact made me determined to, “do the right thing.” This, of course, was not always easy, but as the curtain is hopefully closing on COVID I can say with credence that my family and I have remained COVID- free. Life will always be full of challenges, but by relying on core values, one can come out on the other side stronger.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Albuquerque, NM - September 3, 2021
Contact: Kathleen Sabo, Executive Director, 505-274-2442 or email@example.com
Dr. Tracie Collins, Former NM Department of Health Secretary to Appear as Special Guest for 2021 Community Ethics Gathering
Dr. Tracie Collins, Former NM Department of Health Secretary and Dean of the University of New Mexico’s College of Population Health is the featured guest at an event celebrating community ethics during the pandemic.
The outdoor symposium -- “Ethics in New Mexico: Community Ethics” – is hosted by New Mexico Ethics Watch (NMEW), a nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) organization and principal leader in ethics reform in New Mexico.
Happening on Thursday, September 9th from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., the symposium also serves as a fundraiser for the organization. This is NMEW’s third annual “Ethics in New Mexico'' event.
*This year’s event features notable guests including:
-Dr. Tracie Collins, Former New Mexico Secretary of the Department of Health and Dean of the University of New Mexico’s College of Population Health
Dr. Collins took over the NM Department of Health’s Secretary’s job in December 2020 and oversaw the equitable rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine throughout the state. Dr. Collins left the DOH in July 2021 and has returned to her position as the Dean of the University of New Mexico’s College of Population Health.
-EthicsNOW podcast guests, ranging from a bioethicist to a restaurant/club owner, to journalists to attorneys protecting the rights of prisoners.
We’ll honor each of them and check in with several past guests for an update.
-Richard C. Bosson, former NM Supreme Court Chief Justice and NMEW Board Chair
Justice Bosson is a former Chief Justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court, where he served from 2002 to 2015. He was a member of the New Mexico Court of Appeals from 1994 to 2002, and served on the New Mexico Constitutional Revision Commission in 1994-95. Justice Bosson also worked in the New Mexico Attorney General's Office as Civil Division Director. He has served as the NMEW Board Chair since the organization’s inception in 2016, and recently served as the Chair of the New Mexico Civil Rights Commission.
“NMEW is thrilled to present our esteemed speakers and honored guests, each of whom has demonstrated outstanding ethics this past year and who have helped to keep a spotlight on ethics during this challenging time,” says NMEW Executive Director Kathleen Sabo. “We’re committed – through our annual Ethics in New Mexico events, and always – to providing timely and accurate information from trusted sources that engages and educates the public.”
During the symposium, NM Ethics Watch will also announce the winners of its third annual Student Ethics Essay Contest, which was held in the spring for NM high school students. Students were asked to respond to the prompt, “How have ethical principles influenced your behavior and actions during the pandemic?” A first prize of $500, a second prize of $250, a third prize of $100 and two $50 honorable mention prizes will be awarded.
Event registration is requested. A suggested donation of $35 is requested from non-student attendees to help fund NMEW’s important work. All donations are tax deductible. Lunch and refreshments will be available. The following Covid-19 safety policies will be in effect for the outdoor space: The event is outdoors under a large portal and attendance is limited to permit social distancing. During attendee check-in, vaccination verification will be requested. Masks are suggested for all attendees. Safety requests may be updated and will be communicated to attendees if conditions change prior to the event.
What: “Ethics in New Mexico: Community Ethics” symposium
When: Thursday, September 9th from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Where: Alfredo Garcia Community Barn at Hartnett Park in Los Ranchos De Albuquerque. (The event is outdoors under a large portal - see Covid-19 policies, above.)
Who: Hosted by New Mexico Ethics Watch
**For more info and to Register, go to : www.flipcause.com/secure/event_step2/MTIxNTQ0/120770
*Donations requested (Suggested amount $35). Student Admission - Free
NMEW is a 501(c)(3) organization and donations for this event are tax deductible.
***To do a story on this event please contact Kathleen Sabo at firstname.lastname@example.org or (505) 507-7548.
New Mexico Ethics Watch is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization and a principal leader in ethics reform in New Mexico. Our values are that ethics is for everyone; that good government leads to improved schools, healthier communities, and better business, and attention to ethics in public life leads to more equitable opportunities for all.
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