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LOVE wayment… DISTRACTIONS Don’t Live Here Anymore

If there was ever a moment to leave the comforts and joys of the sandbox, we have entered that epoch. Having come of age in the era of watching Eyes on the Prize faithfully beginning in middle school for Black History month, books on the Civil Rights Movement were dutiful companions. The punctuating Eyes on the Prize lyrics that are a constant for me, “The only thing we did right, was the day we started to fight. Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on, hold on.” Followed by, “The only thing we did was wrong, staying in the wilderness too long. Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on.” And there it is – a charge to exit the land of wander and enter the place of focus.

As the world traverses wide unknowns of the novel coronavirus, the universe of sports, racing, competitions, festivals to include the platforms that cover these activities, have canceled or modified their events and pivoted. Many are providing alternative deliverables in an effort to keep consumers connected to their teams and businesses. But in the era of coronavirus that is decimating Black and Brown communities at higher rates than any other group, we see:

  1. states re-opening hastily and some abandoning restaurant and gathering guidelines that are predicated on keeping people safe, overwhelmingly impacting Black and Brown bodies, of whom comprise the lion’s share of service industry jobs.

  2. higher rates of coronavirus cases in states that retired stay at home orders in an effort to boost their economy for the holiday and summer months.

  3. testing still not widely available in Black and Brown areas that after a horrendous 2010 Census undercount, and the 2012 SCOTUS ruling making it voluntary for states to expand Medicaid, the impact of hospital closings and health investments disproportionately harm Black and Brown communities. Of note, the South has the highest population of Black people, and many of those governors defiantly chose not to expand coverage under the ACA.

These immediate health alarms combined with the marathon of uprisings centered in the centuries long killings of Black bodies by the state and self-deputized non-Blacks, has shifted the landscape to a place that requires focus, listening, and most importantly sustained strategy beyond this moment, the upcoming general election, and well after January 20, 2021 at noon. Are we capable of doing more than one thing at a time? Absolutely. And those things should be centered in the sharpening of political acumen to effect realistic and long-lasting change to free and protect Black life. When a 27-year old is shot and killed haven fallen asleep in a Wendy’s drive-thru in Atlanta on the hills of the killing of then 26-year old Breonna Taylor, we are losing too many lives from an awakening generation.

Being entertained is not necessary. Being influenced by history and action is necessary. Being selfless and using one’s platform to advocate and participate in the work for liberation is priority. The great Ralph Ellison said, “There are few things in the world as dangerous as sleepwalkers.” It was a great ride, but because of love, love of my People, love of my Community, love of sharpening political acumen and love of being an active agent of change, distractions don’t live here anymore.

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