Black kids around the country lost precious time to make meaningful memories once the pandemic isolated us to our homes. Prom, graduation or the first day at work was converted to a virtual space or postponed to the future, losing its magic. In an effort to heal the loneliness the lockdown brought, actress and executive producer Marsai Martin partnered with Eventbrite to launch The Social Connection Project: Marsai Martin’s Picks for a Social Summer.
The project is aimed toward tackling the social isolation and loneliness our youth experienced and still experience as a result of the pandemic. According to a survey by insurance provider Cigna, 79 percent of Gen Zers reported they experienced loneliness in 2020, more than any other group. Research finds loneliness plays a major role in social anxiety and relates to depression symptoms.
Martin said social connections are crucial to the healing process.
“If you are my age, slowly going into adulthood, you need to make those connections and find your people, find who makes you feel happy. It’s not only the transition of [adulthood] but also the realization as well. Life goes by super fast and we need to take time to really notice what is around us and what we can do to uplift everybody,” said Martin.
Black Gen Z youth suffered even more through the lockdown given the displays of racial injustice they were exposed to via social media. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry found these were predictors for suicide among Black adolescents and exacerbates their risk for mental illness. According to experts, coming out of isolation may be a prevention tactic.
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“Social connection is essential to our health and wellbeing. When we struggle with loneliness, we are at higher risk for mental and physical health challenges. Even before the pandemic, there were alarming rates of loneliness in America, especially among young people. Last December, I issued a Surgeon General’s Advisory on the youth mental health crisis in our country, calling our nation to action to step up for our children and rebuild social connection and community,” said U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy.
“We all have a role to play in building the foundation for a healthier nation, and I am grateful that Eventbrite is doing its part to tackle this issue head-on by launching The Social Connection Project.”
Through Eventbrite’s project, youth will have the chance to get free tickets to a specially designed collection of events, one being a rollerskating event curated by Martin herself.
“I wish I had this experience back then. Being able to work with Eventbrite and coming back into what we used to have, it’s something that I am very, very excited about,” said Martin.
Go to Eventbrite.com/Marsai and use the code CONNECTION2022 for free event access.