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One America, Two Pandemics

Its 2020 and most of us want a "do over" for the first 6 months. It has been devastating. Starting with the tragic death of one of NBA's most memorable basketball players, Kobe Bryant and 8 other individuals in a helicopter crash. The repeated images were overwhelming...but two months later. The entire world came to a screeching hault when Covid-19, a.k.a. Coronavirus turned our world upside down. Rapidly taking lives of loved ones and being highly contagious. Schools and Universities closed, businesses closed, churches closed and many people loss their employment. Professional sports suspended their seasons "indefinitely", airplanes and public transportation were grounded. Newscasters were reporting from their homes, movies were out of production, and TV programming ended production. It was a remarkably unprecedented time. Something we've never experienced before in our generation. Hashtags were #stayhome, #inthistogether, #westayhomefor became a worldwide message. The goal across the world was to flatten the curve and stop the spread of the deadly contagious virus despite the lack of honest leadership from our government.

Just as our country wrestled with the thought of re-opening, we witnessed video of Ahmaud Arbery, a young Black man who was killed while jogging in his neighborhood. Little did we realize that on the cusp of this information the boiling pandemic of racism in America was going to swoop over our nation in full force and it would, too, go worldwide. The horrifying video of George Floyd laying on the ground with a police officer's knee on his neck, gasping "I can't breathe"...Sigh....

Another Black man, dead for no legitimate reason. This inhumane act provoked people to come out of quarantine and take to the streets to protest against the senseless killing of Black people at the hands of bad police. Amazingly, protests that began in Minneapolis, MN quickly spread across the United States of America and over the oceans to other continents and countries. Truth be told, if it weren't for the stillness of the nation by Covid-19 and the worldwide quarantine, this could have fallen on deaf ears and desensitized the minds of the people who watched that video.

But, we were called to action and we continue to call for justice of the oppressed, address police reform, and recognition of institutionalized racism. Its so ingrained in the very fabric of America, that many people who are not Black or people of color do not believe that it even exists. Partly because, quite frankly, they are the privileged. So how could they know its real if they have never experienced it for themselves? Only empathetic minds and people who want to create a new mindset of America amidst the historic masks of racist laws and policies, allowing for the mistreatment of someone who does not look like you.. Thank you to the heart of white Americans, Fortune 500 companies, and influential persons who have stood with Black Americans on our behalf to fight the injustice of racism. This is our first time we have seen genuine unity across all ethnicity in our lifetime.

Racism is not going to "disappear" or just end because of protests or laws. It is deeply rooted into the minds and hearts of individuals who have been taught to hate people who do not look like them. Racism will only change with one individual at a time, as long as they have empathy and they listen to the oppressed for better understanding. However, holding bad police responsible and training them to triage situations before they react. are a good place to start. Let's continue to show that American citizens value humanity and that Black lives do matter.

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