To the Editor:
We are trying to cope with two viruses: COVID-19 and systemic racism.
Both are unseen and everywhere. They are known by their effects on people. COVID makes people sick and sometimes die; racism makes people seem less human and sometimes die. The COVID virus is transmitted by close contact; the racist virus by white upbringing. Sometimes COVID shows no symptoms; racism's symptoms are mostly invisible to whites. Most appear to recover from COVID; racism is like a chronic condition. COVID is controlled by social distancing and wearing masks; racism is lessened by social closeness and dropping masks of privilege. COVID calls for quarantines and shelter in place; racism calls for getting out and mixing together inter-racially. A vaccine for COVID may be coming; the cure for racism entails difficult personal changes such as getting beyond our fears and our comfort zones.
It also entails working together for policy changes on every level. And perhaps most importantly, living with a conscious awareness that spiritually and by nature we are one human family. Coping with COVID and racism will take time. Our lives will never be the same again. But if we can walk together on that long bumpy road, we will go forward and help create the kind of healthy communities we need.
The choice is ours. What will we choose to do?