The spring of 2020 took a turn that nobody expected. With the spread of Covid-19, our cities and our urban lives have changed dramatically. Without distinction of territory, the virus has spread rapidly, starting in China and continuing through Europe. Several cities in the world have canceled extraordinary events and have limited our freedom of mobility, our routine and our daily lives. These measures did not take long to reach the Global South and quickly, the whole world has been affected by the ravages of the rapidly contagious virus.
In the midst of uncertainty, we launched the 'Spread stories, not the virus' platform on March 16, 2020, which was created as a virtual space in which citizens from all over the world could share their stories during confinement; positive stories of hope that could inspire new ways of global solidarity. The platform, created by 12 young urban planners (all alumni and students of the Erasmus Mundus 4 Cities Master in Urban Studies program), is for all those who stay at home, who are passive heroes, but also for those who leave daily to fight so that our cities and societies continue to function despite living unimaginable experiences. In other words, for all those who contribute to making societies and urban environments more resilient, more humane.
The new urban conditions that have arisen after the virus spread is not what has most attracted our attention - the first noticeable interruption to our daily life was the suspension of classes at our universities and then their closure. Within a few days, even hours, the prompt flight of many of us to our countries of origin. Being in voluntary or forced quarantine, we dedicated our time to collecting testimonies that in telling individual stories, represent the state of entire communities around the globe. Thus, our mission became to transmit stories of (and for) citizens from all over the world.
Photo taken by Santiago Arau
We want to erase those dystopian images that, since Covid-19, we are constantly reading. We also seek to promote narratives and perspectives based on solutions and thought with solidarity; to collect and spread stories of cities and citizens around the world. Being in a time of uncertainty and rapid and frantic change, we believe that in the future, the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will become a key moment in world history, but this history is in our hands - to be written, collectively.
Today, almost two months after our launch, we are proud to launch our Spanish platform “Transmite historias, no el virus” - the sister platform of “Spread stories, not the virus”. And for the same purpose of outreach and collection, we are excited to be able to include an audience of more than 400 million citizens: the Spanish-speaking community. Thus, we wish to open horizons and erase borders through different means of expression: texts, photographs, videos, art, poetry; the imagination is infinite. Today more than ever we have to open our eyes to different realities, especially those of the Global South that have been ignored for a long time. We hope that more citizens will join our movement and that we can write the story together, a story of global solidarity.
Photo by Santiago Arau Without having planned it, this surprise that arrives today, whether by coincidence or not, is a reason for much joy. We have two very important reasons to celebrate. The first, that we officially open the platform to provide a virtual space for a sector of the world population that has millions of speakers: the Spanish language. No less important, we celebrate the birthday of one of our co-founders; Without him, our project would not have been possible. From different cities we wish you a very happy birthday, dear Job! Let's share our stories and remember that we are not alone. Let's stop the virus and keep on with ¡transmite historias, no el virus!
Spread stories, not the virus is a collection of these stories as told by citizens around the world. Join our growing global movement by sharing your story on our website.