I have been talking to my mother a bit more in the past few weeks. She is such a joy to talk to, but our last call was a bit sad. She told me that she is not watching the news. She just can’t bear seeing the image of George Floyd’s death anymore. She said,” I just can’t take watching as he calls for his mother, and they just killed him.” That is an unsettling image for anyone, but for an 82-year-old African American woman, it is too much. She can only see her grandsons lying there.
I talked to her again because my cousin posted that his brother and niece were recovering. We have a Family Reunion page. I called her to find out if everyone was alright. COVID-19 rates are increasing in Birmingham. She called on the circle of sisters. That starts with my aunt, who usually is always in the know. Then the circle of cousins gets activated and resulted in the next call. It is not COVID-19.
Family for us is so important. It is a circle that keeps us grounded and secure. It keeps me humble and inspired to keep pushing my limits. I have always known that if I ever I fell, they are there to pick me up. Fourth of July was a celebration in our family. A cookout with my uncle operating the grill and producing the best ribs ever.
I am holding my breath as COVID-19 rates increase in the southern states. My roots are there. My mother, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews, and friends. As the two pandemics rage, I have so much at risk.
Two solutions are evident. Wear your mask and practice social distance. Address racism and bias to make us truly free. July 4 has to mark a day of reflection. Then a pledge to address these issues for the true manifestation of our freedom.
“This Fourth of July is yours, not mine, You may rejoice, I must mourn.” July 5, 1852, Frederick Douglass