Guest Blog: Maui Vang on Economic Disparity During The COVID-19 Pandemic

Maui Vang and family

Occasionally we ask a volunteer to write a piece for us, other times we learn about something they've created and ask if we can include it on our site. The piece below was written by Maui Vang, a donor and volunteer of ours since 2017. We were moved by her words and she was kind enough to let us share them with you. 


It hit me today. Not the virus, but the economic disparity emerging from the impact of the virus. And not just locally or nationally, but globally.

You see, I’m privileged. My kids don’t experience food insecurity. My home is safe and warm. My neighborhood is peaceful. My Wi-Fi is fast. My car works. My bills are paid.

I don’t live superfluously but I’m comfortable. Maybe you can relate.

Others, however, don’t share these same luxuries. A missed paycheck means eviction. A lost job means bankruptcy. A recession means poverty.

I’ve heard some say this pandemic is ‘the great equalizer’ as it does not discriminate between who it infects.

I see the opposite. Widespread hardship has a magnifying effect on the deep inequities that run through our country and around the world.

When times are tough, the chasm of inequality only widens.

India just shut down 1.3 billion people. BILLION. Many of these people are among the poorest in the world--people whose government likely won’t send them stimulus checks. People who are already buried in poverty and social injustice. People who don’t have access to basic healthcare, let alone intensive or end of life care.

There are not enough lifeboats for everyone on the sinking ship.

These are the moments in life when you awaken to the social ‘pecking order’ and realize where you stand. It’s painfully sobering. 

We’re all hurting from this but some will hurt more. Much more. That’s the way it’s been and unfortunately, the cycle continues.

So it hit me today. In a moment of despair, I wondered, “What can I possibly do to soften the impending blow?” What can any of us do?

Whatever it is, it starts with the courage to care. The willingness to be compelled to action. And finally, the conviction to see it through.

Even as we’re quarantined inside our box, we can think outside the box. We can be creative--and relentless--with our generosity, extending humanity to others. 

Vulnerability comes in different forms. There will be more economic casualties from this than physical loss. 

There is no economic relief for longstanding inequality. No aid check large enough to combat poverty. No bailout for those who weren’t a part of the system to begin with.

As we’re glued to the news feed, preoccupied with the latest death toll, let’s not forget those who are suffering from a different disease: a disease of economic imparity for which there is no immediate or simple cure.

Maui VangWhat are you doing to #serve or #giveback during this time?

About Maui Vang

Maui volunteering at a United Way School Supply DriveMaui is a financial planner, writer, and personal finance coach. She lives in Asheville, NC with her husband Xam (Sam) and three children, Ruthie, Eli, and Jude. Xam is a Product Technologist at Lenovo where he has worked for over 14 years. As an active volunteer, Maui works with various non-profit organizations. She currently serves on the executive committee of Highlands Circle, a leadership giving network of young professionals under United Way of Asheville Buncombe. She firmly believes in the power of financial literacy and works to educate at risk consumers in underserved communities.

Visit her website here.