July 23, 2020 – On July 15, our CEO & Founder, Forest Whitaker, was invited by the United Nations to participate in an online panel titled “Solidarity at the Heart of Recovery”. The panel took place in the context of the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF), the United Nations’ main platform for governments, UN agencies, and other organizations to assess the progress of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Organized as part of the SDG Media Zone, the panel was an opportunity to explore solutions to the challenges we face today, including COVID-19, poverty and unemployment, inequality, and climate change. Forest Whitaker was joined by UN Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications Melissa Fleming and Farai Mubaiwa, a young changemaker and founder of Africa Matters for an exchange moderated by Kristen Saloomey, the New York-based correspondent for Al Jazeera.
The main observation shared by Forest Whitaker was that, in a paradoxical way, the pandemic has brought the world together by laying bare the need for solidarity – the veil that covered inequality has been set aside by the virus. In his country, the United States, African Americans represent 13% of the population but 24% COVID-19-related deaths. This has led to national awareness and in response, people are coming together to rethink things, from how the police operate to how we tackle inequality. In that sense, the virus has been a catalyst – the kind of catalyst need to address the SDGs. While recognizing the difficulties of the present times, he admitted to being somewhat hopeful, provided the will to work for change was strengthened and grew roots in society as a whole.
To watch the panel discussion, click here.