There is a devastating virus that has been limiting progress, restricting freedoms and fatally suffocating people long before Covid-19. This virus is highly resistant, stubborn, defensive and offensive. It too can be passed through families and spread between friends and throughout communities. For centuries and centuries, generations after generations have not been able to overcome this disease.
It is the ever present social disease of racism. It remains in existence because we have yet to successfully wash hands and minds clean of disdain, disregard, and denial.
The only cure is awareness, education, compassion, empathy, and ACTION.
As the corona virus made an unimaginable impact on cities around the world, it also incited debates about whether or not it was a real threat, whether or not it was being exaggerated and whose fault was it anyways. After months of fatalities proved at the very least, this is a real problem that needs to be addressed some people continued to doubt the reality of the corona virus likely because either there wasn’t a significant enough amount of deaths locally to their neighborhood or they didn't know anyone personally affected. And despite the hundreds of thousands of deaths due to coronavirus worldwide people still doubt it and disregard measures to reduce its spread. Similarly despite hundreds of years of oppression and thousands of acts of violence, some people remain unaware, uninterested and outright delusional of the reality and fatalities of racism.
But for others, the COVID-19 resulted in a pandemic of clarity. It has brought people around the world together like never before, exposing fundamental flaws and emphasizing the importance of people more than profit and safety more than stability.
In the past couple weeks, acts of racism; the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, the phone call to the police by Amy Cooper and the murder of George Floyd, has accelerated aspects of the pandemic of clarity. People around the world are standing together to denounce racism like never before because this ongoing deep rooted structural virus continues to value profit more than people, and stability more than safety.
Public acknowledgments and institutional changes are needed now.
Just as each business, small and large, one by one sent an email, updated their website and/or their social media platforms to convey how they would approach COVID-19; how they have adjusted any necessary protocols to protect their clients and employees to build a sense of confidence that their safety and livelihoods are important, so too should we expect that same urgency and significance to assure support for the members of our community whose safety and livelihoods have been and still are affected by racism. Just as news channels created new podcasts and social media accounts to stay up to date on the latest news about defeating Covid-19; the scientific pathology, new discoveries of its symptoms, new methods of infection prevention and the current presence of the coronavirus locally and globally, so too should we expect a regular daily conversation of the latest progress and areas of continued concern of defeating racism; the social pathology, in depth reviews and interviews of its historical beginnings, where in our cities it is undeniably overwhelmed by its influence and ways to work together against systemic racism. Just as businesses with storefronts put up signs on their entry doors as reminders that masks are required in protection of its employees and its patrons, so too should we see signs confirming solidarity against racism and racial injustice. Just as we must work together to minimize and ultimately eradicate the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, so too do we need to work together to achieve racial equity.
Change happens when your share information and show your support by gathering. Change happens when you contribute your time and/or money to causes that will advance progress. It happens when you advocate for changes locally. For affordable housing, for how property taxes are distributed, for changes in the criminal system, in zoning laws, and in the employment sector etc. It happens through the passage of legislature and court rulings. It happens when you hold people around you accountable and hold our elected officials accountable.
Your voice and your vote is the vaccination.