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SMH's Intentional Conversations


COVID-19: The Unexpected Visitor

May 7,  2020

In some way, we all have been impacted—or should I say ARE impacted—by COVID-19. We were unprepared for this visitor that came into our lives and disrupted our sense of normalcy. We were forced to make harsh changes on the spot…IMMEDIATELY. Unfortunately, our unpreparedness has left us questioning: What now?

Our country is on lockdown. Social isolation and separateness are “the thing to do now.” We are told to stay six feet apart and must wear masks and other protective gear when in public. Most are working from home, but essential employees—our unsung heroes—must go into the world daily to do their jobs, not knowing whether they are safe or will be infected with the virus. Many ask, “When I return home, will I infect my family?” Indeed, this pandemic has changed our very way of life.

This new normal (primarily referring to social isolation) has become a different enemy for some. News reports state that COVID-19 restrictions have put instances of domestic violence at an all-time high. Those dealing with domestic violence and abuse are now trapped in their homes with their abuser, further isolating them from their loved ones and beneficial resources. Previously, victims could find some refuge in going to work or in their abuser going to work, giving them some level of relief in that separation…if only for a few hours out of any given day. Now, however, they are hostages…on lockdown…as if they have committed a crime—but the crimes are being committed against them behind closed doors!

While the number of people being affected in some way by COVID-19 in the United States continues to grow daily, so are the calls to domestic violence hotlines. Domestic violence is rooted in power and control. Sadly, abusers are using this time as another control mechanism. Physical, Sexual, Emotional, Financial, Psychological, and Spiritual Abuse are all equally terrifying and have long-lasting adverse effects on the victim.

This “Unexpected Visitor” (COVID-19) has made it even more difficult for victims of abuse to ask for help. This new normal has impacted me personally in such a way that there is not a day that does not go by when I do not think about those who are in domestic violence situations. I can only imagine how they must feel right now…

As a survivor, I know firsthand what it is like to be threatened, isolated, and abused. I cannot even BEGIN to imagine living through a domestic violence situation during this COVID-19 pandemic, living alongside “The Unexpected Visitor.”

Color of my BORN Skin

June 1, 2020

Thank you for your support. Thank you for your concern. Thank you for standing on the front lines. Thank you for posting. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for your comments. I cannot, however, thank you for completely understanding my pain.

You see, there is a pain I experience that is associated with the color of my born skin. You weren't born with my complexion, so you don't have to endure the mistreatment. Long before my presence on this earth, there were those who were mistreated and dehumanized—all because of the skin they were born in—by the ones who took an oath to "Protect and Serve," no matter the color of one's skin.

Perhaps you have your own set of challenges that are associated with the color of your born skin. I won't dare try to understand the challenges that only you could understand. To think: We are more alike than least more than we care to admit. The great Creator created us all, but, unfortunately, humanity decided otherwise. So, while most of us share in the sadness and disappointment of these trying times, the color of our skin is still separating us.

This injustice...this racism...this act of violence against US because of our born skin has put many of us in a state of being totally pissed off—beyond what we can verbalize. As such, many have chosen to turn the anger into action. I would, however, remind us to take peaceful measures that will not dilute the reason for the action. Regardless of the color of our skin, more of us than not will fall to our knees and repent because there will be no other choice.

Stay on the front lines! Pray for a change! Be the change! Create a change!

What's Next?

July 1, 2020

White supremacy. Police brutality. Systemic racism. Those injustices are not new. However, it is evident the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic has proven to shed new light on those inequalities, bringing them to the forefront.

The untimely death of George Floyd sparked a movement—an awakening—leaving many with the feeling that we have the power to turn the broken system on its head. The attention on not only the Black community in the U.S. but also around the world, has been awakened and is shining brightly.

BUT for how long? What’s next?

The Black Lives Matter Movement is alive! Black people are angry—rather, ENRAGED—about the injustices that have silenced our ancestors and have continued to permeate our communities for far too long. For far too long, Black lives have been in a state of crisis. Some of those tasked with protecting us—namely “The Law,” “The Police,” “The 5-0,” or whatever other creative designation you choose to use—have instilled fear for our very lives in our hearts.

Well, guess what? The entire world has taken notice!

How many more Black families must we see publicly grieving over the loss of a loved one at the hands of the police?

As a mother of a Black ADULT son, I often find myself stuck in a daydream when I don’t hear from him, wondering if he got pulled over by the police and was killed. My son and I have had several conversations about the possibility of being pulled over and how he would handle himself.  Why??? Because I want my son to live to see another day! No parent should have to settle for living with that type of daily fear.

Time and again, it has been shown that Black lives do NOT matter. I’m here to tell you: BLACK LIVES DO MATTER. Yes, yes, yes…All lives matter, but that is not what I’m choosing to address at this moment. THIS moment is about generations of BLACK LIVES lost. THIS moment is also sadly dedicated to those BLACK LIVES that will be lost.

Today, we find thousands and thousands of people protesting police brutality. Protests aren’t new, however. The struggle for racial equality dates back to Martin Luther King, Jr. and others like him—before and since—who were bold enough to take a stand. They risked it all to lend a voice to the struggle, including marching while trying to avoid the spray of fire hoses and being spat on, assaulted by billy clubs, and mauled by police dogs.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 cases continue to rise exponentially daily—especially in the Black communities around the U.S. This country’s current crisis is truly showing the ugliness of who we are as a nation. What was once hidden is now being exposed for all to see.

So, what’s next, you ask? We must exercise the POWER of our VOTE. Each opportunity to cast our vote is just as crucial as the quadrennial presidential election. Voting tells the leaders of our local communities, states, and U.S. government that our protesting will not be in vain.

MARCH to the mid-terms!

MARCH to the primaries!

MARCH to the presidential election!

If you truly believe it when you chant, “BLACK LIVES MATTER,” continue the protest—at the POLLS! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE!

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