It seems like some unknown force has further tilted the axis of this planet, and we have all fallen off our chairs. It insidiously crept upon us with the relatively innocuous announcement that China was dealing with a new virus. Within days the world became the playground for the Covid-19, and by mid-March, it seemed like the world stopped spinning.
We are experiencing an unprecedented time in our country’s history as we continue to battle a deadly pandemic and the resulting economic havoc while, once again, coming face-to-face with the long-term effects of racial injustice. It seems that we were locked down at home for weeks watching the death toll rise, and one day the doors opened after the tragic death of George Floyd. On the one hand, watching thousands of protest against such injustice and inhumanity inspires the commitment it represents and, on the other, heartbreaking. It is a sad commentary that humanity has to clarify that any lives matter, should be disconcerting.
America is dealing with two major issues right now, a health issue and a social injustice issue. Indeed, it seems that we are all at each other’s throats in scrambling for a solution. It seems that we were getting out of the woods and awakening slowly to “business as usual,” and Floyd George was killed, tragically, due to excessive police restraint. Everyone seemed to have amnesia about “social distancing” and started massing in crowds in cities all over America and, indeed, around the world.
What needs to be done?
There are ideas like implicit bias training for officers. Tactics to improve de-escalation. While some say racial diversity among police ranks can help reduce police-related violence, there’s no clear evidence that’s true. Meanwhile, some have called to defund the police and limit what they do, moving the money to communities in need. Many police departments – including Minneapolis – have instituted body cameras. But that tech does not help if the cameras are not turned on. One thing that has proved effective on the state and local level: legislation.
Every individual who lives in a democracy has the right to be heard. Still, no one is ever allowed to use violent tactics, rioting, theft, arson, assault, and ignorant behavior to let their voice be heard.
Bringing America Back: Mass protests could lead to another wave of coronavirus infections: Anyone who has joined a protest over the past few days should probably get tested for COVID-19, according to Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. “There’s still a pandemic in America that’s killing black and brown people at higher numbers,” she said at a recent news briefing. As thousands of demonstrators protest the death of George Floyd and demand an end to police brutality, health experts are worried that the mass gatherings could spark the second wave of Covid-19 infections. While there’s a lower risk of the virus spreading outdoors, especially in a moving crowd, Michael Osterholm, Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, explained that smoke, tear gas and pepper spray, which have been used in some protests, cause coughing, which aerosolizes the virus, increasing the risk that it will spread. Experts suggest that people who are participating in demonstrations should quarantine before returning home.
If we do not heed the mistakes and failures of our past (L A riots of 1992) we are bound to repeat them. The fact that humanity needs to clarify that any lives matter, should be concern enough. Fear and ignorance are the deficit factors that people suffer from who are prejudiced concerning the color of a person’s skin. The rioters are using a very sad and severe situation to exploit their community for their gain. We are better than this, and we must rise to the occasion to be sensitive, empathetic, and open to dialogue.
In our travels around the world assisting communities who have become victims of natural disasters, we have consistently found individuals, of every skin color, who have experienced tragedy together and approach a solution collaboratively because that is the only way they will continue to exist. Televisions and expensive purses are the last things on their list- just surviving for another day.
All of us at GR3 International will continue to assist and provide support to communities who are suffering, and we shall continue to provide this assistance with compassion, empathy, and sensitivity.
Angus, Ian. “Superbugs in the Anthropocene: A Profit-Driven Plague.” Monthly Review, vol. 71, no. 2, Monthly Review Press, June 2019, p. 1.