By: Omowale Luthuli-Allen
“There is no progress without struggle.” Frederick Douglas
I am inclined to go in my Watchtower and shake my fist at God and shout, “we don’t deserve this, why are you doing this to us? You have some explaining to do!”
My schoolmates in South Louisiana have been updating me on the body count and the number of childhood friends in Intensive Care / ICU. Brothers and sisters that I grew up with have transitioned as a result of this virus. I guess that I am asking for an exemption or waiver, although I know this request is silly and impossible. Nevertheless, If God is in control of COVID-19, I want her to suspend or cancel the disease transmission in our weak and fragile communities.
Send the virus back to HELL.
Now, I am reminded that the divine work is through imperfect instruments, human beings. It is our responsibility and charge to embrace struggle and change the world. Frederick Douglas is correct, there is no progress without struggle. Public health workers and first responders have had had to lead the way in the containment and mitigation fight. As the curve is being flattened, these workers have exposed themselves to great personal and family risk in order to curb the COVID spread and save lives. These workers represent all of us and most have an attitude of, “I have had some good days, I have had some bad days and I won’t complain thru it all.”
I am not entirely satisfied with the divine response but all of us must stop the whining and complaining. Epidemics and pandemics will be with us for all human history. Our charge is to intelligently and courageously respond. This is how we partnership with God in SENDING THE VIRUS BACK TO HELL.
Intelligent response requires that we respect the science and observe the public health recommendations. One, follow the science and experts by continuing the social distancing and abstaining from mass gatherings. Continue washing hands and wearing masks. Secondly, my advice is to prepare to EDUCATE and INNOVATE. Educate because education is a divine method to check ignorance and shine a light into confused towers where ignorance reigns. No further education is needed for those Americans who already seen the purple rain. Scientists are resolute that reopening the economy prematurely will spread disease, cost lives and stunt a real opening. The whistleblower vaccine scientist, Dr. Bright, is predicting that the Winter of 2020 will be the darkest winter in modern American history. More of our brothers and sisters must be educated that defiance by brandishing AR 7 rifles in the statehouse or congregating at the nail shop or beach is not likely to work out well.
Innovate by asking the question, what is it that we have been doing that we can do differently? What are the lifestyle changes that we can make that will reduce or eliminate some of the chronic underlying conditions that plague us? What practices contribute to high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, bad cholesterol? Are OREO cookies, high fructose sodas and sour cream potato chips “for or against us?” Do I need a home garden to protect against future food insecurity? 100, 000 small businesses have shut down, how do we survive and thrive in the new economy? Will greed and social Darwinism- I will get mine- you get yours be the ethic that drives you and your community? Why can’t you and I wait on the scientists to state that it is OK to go to the beauty and barber shop? Perhaps we can use the vanity time to ensure that everyone 17 years and older is educated, registered and prepared to vote by carrier pigeon, mail, early vote or in person. The November election could determine whether our democracy goes dark or not.
Tell the millennials that the man or woman that does not cultivate their fields will die of hunger. Squeeze the stimulus dollar until the eagle grins.
A SANKOFA moment for me happened 25 years ago in North Louisiana community of Homer. I visited one of my Daddy’s cousins deep in the country. She was an independent and retired landowner- 85 years old. She said, “Junior go on the porch and get you some chickens and peas.” I went to the porch and she had an industrial sized freezer full of purple hull peas and yard birds. She said, “Junior, if another depression comes, it will be two years before I am aware that it came.”
Become a Black Futures think tank.
Therapeutics and a vaccine are coming. In the meantime, we must struggle to build a newer society. Our ancestors believed that with much struggle comes much wealth. May I paraphrase Douglas.
Men may not get all that we pay for in this world but before it is over, we will pay for all that we get…
Stony the road we trod, bitter the chastening rod
Felt in the days when hope unborn had died;
Yet with a steady beat, have not our weary feet
Come to the place for which our fathers sighed?
We have come over a way that with tears has been watered,
We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered.
Out from the gloomy past, till now we stand at last
Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast
TRUE TO OUR GOD, TRUE TO OUR NATIVE LAND
JAMES WELDON JOHNSON 1899
BLACK NATIONAL ANTHEM