The Hard Issues the Pandemic is Back-Burner-ing
Pandemic means “all people,” and the coronavirus pandemic is a true pandemic; no one is immune; contagion is invisible and rapid.
This pandemic has also back-burnered every other social-political-health issue for the time being, perhaps rightfully so, but sadly so. Even though it’s a joy that people can see the Himalayas for the first time in 40 years, or see major cities from satellites that were previously obscured by smog, the number of species going extinct or the acceleration of severe weather catastrophes has not slowed down.
A friend recently wondered: would it make a difference if we had a headline every day for every disaster caused by global warming the way we are bombarded with updates about COVID-19. I understand the deluge, I really do. And…we can so easily put other potential disasters out-of-sight-out-of-mind.
The pandemic is causing illness and deaths among black, Latinx and Native Americans at a faster rate than among whites, new impact upon previous inequity.
The same friend who shared with me her wonderful experience of providing an abundant pizza-with-everything lunch for her cousin and staff at Maimonides Hospital in Brooklyn [see Showing Up for the People Who Are Showing Up] shared with me the very poignant posting below about deaths in the black community, whether from COVID-19 or from being black in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Black people are so tired. 😓
We can’t go jogging (#AhmaudArbery).
We can’t have a cellphone (#StephonClark).
We can’t leave a party to get to safety (#JordanEdwards).
We can’t play loud music (#JordanDavis).
We can’t sell CD’s (#AltonSterling).
We can’t sleep (#AiyanaJones)
We can’t walk from the corner store (#MikeBrown).
We can’t play cops and robbers (#TamirRice).
We can’t go to church (#Charleston9).
We can’t walk home with Skittles (#TrayvonMartin).
We can’t hold a hair brush while leaving our own bachelor party (#SeanBell).
We can’t party on New Years (#OscarGrant).
We can’t get a normal traffic ticket (#SandraBland).
We can’t lawfully carry a weapon (#PhilandoCastile).
We can’t break down on a public road with car problems (#CoreyJones).
We can’t shop at Walmart (#JohnCrawford).
We can’t have a disabled vehicle (#TerrenceCrutcher).
We can’t read a book in our own car (#KeithScott).
We can’t be a 10yr old walking with our grandfather (#CliffordGlover).
We can’t decorate for a party (#ClaudeReese).
We can’t ask a cop a question (#RandyEvans).
We can’t cash our check in peace (#YvonneSmallwood).
We can’t take out our wallet (#AmadouDiallo).
We can’t run (#WalterScott).
We can’t breathe (#EricGarner).
We can’t live (#FreddieGray).
Tired of making hashtags.
Tired of trying to convince you that our #BlackLivesMatter too.
Tired of dying.
So very tired.
I don’t have the answers to the deluge either. But I am nagged by the many dilemmas that continue to cause death and disruption in our society right now, whether they make the daily headlines or not. And so we continue to send pizzas to our front line workers and continue to raise desperately needed funds for health care [see 100 year-old man raises $40 million for health care] because that’s what we can do and it all counts. It does. And we look for the day when we “get” to tackle the other pressing issues, too.