Don’t Wait On Leaders To Lead; Wear A Mask And Take Other Precautions

History will paint a grim picture of America’s response to the global pandemic known as the Covid-19. Historians will point at political motivation for resisting mask use. Experts universally say the use of masks will drop the spread of virus. And hard as it was for the nation, the shutting down of non-essential commerce will also dramatically bring the rates down. Like it or not the current environment is an organized super spreader event. And let us be honest President Donald J. Trump is responsible for the spread of Covid-19 by his political gamble that America would rather pretend Covid is not that bad and people would rather work than avoid a global pandemic. He was wrong.

Cold hard facts, we are entering the very worst of the pandemic in Oklahoma. Tulsa has no more ICU beds in area hospitals. People will die waiting on treatment. Most are at home hoping they do not get worse and using over the counter medicines to fight a virus that no one knows how it will affect one person over another. Trump and Governor Kevin Stitt have caught the virus. They were able to get the best treatment without waiting in lines to get through their bout with a virus that has killed nearly a quarter of a million people in the United States.

With Thanksgiving coming up, large gatherings can be high risk for passing Covid to friends and family. Many are opting to not hold a large meal in their home. They will get on Zoom secure in the knowledge everyone is safe this year. With possible vaccines being available by December, why not postpone Thanksgiving until the Spring of 2021. Americans have had to adjust and cancel plans for the last 10 months and we can wait a little longer until its much safer.

Remember, this virus hits people of color much harder and more often. Everyone at this point knows someone who has been lost to this virus and it’s time to do the right thing and ignore the dangerous political talk that has contributed to thousands of deaths and a strain on hospital staff. Wear a mask, wash your hands, sanitize your property, social distance, get tested and let us reverse the spread of this insidious virus.

Hate Crimes On The Rise

The FBI recorded 7,314 acts of criminal hatred in the United States this year. The highest in over a decade and hate killings the highest since 1990. During President Barack Obama, hate crimes fell to their lowest level with just over 5,000 infractions. Pretty sad that we celebrate 5,000 hate crimes for being so low. Little shock that hate crimes have risen under President Donald J. Trump’s administration. His racist rhetoric has stirred racial hatred and bigots have become emboldened to act on their prejudice beliefs. His loss could not have come too soon and hopefully the winds of hate will die down.

Tragically, there were 51 racially motivated murders according to the FBI. That number could be much higher if police shootings of people of color were counted. Law enforcement shoot and kill around 1,000 people a year. A majority of those are white but at a much higher per capita rate black Americans are killed by police. George Floyd and Breonna Taylor’s death are not listed as hate crime killings.

After a Spring and Summer of protest, there are calls for police reforms planned this year. Better training, outlawed techniques, and other attempts to address police violence. Hopefully, the defeat of Trump will lessen the hateful racial language. America has shown that during periods of racial respect it is followed by a level of harmony. We need to treat each other better and treat each other as brother and sister. We don’t need to wait on reform to act better.

Ruby Bridges A Living Symbol Of Bravery

Who can forget the indelible image of a 6-year-old black girl being escorted to school by four Federal Marshals as white mobs hurled death threats at her and her mother Lucille Bridges for integrating schools? Even though Brown vs. Board of Education ruled that excluding black students from public education violated the 14th amendment in 1954 the south was slow to change. Parents in New Orleans sued in 1960 to have their children integrate public schools. The judge ruled in the parents favor but agreed to the schools demands that students be forced to apply for admission. Among the first admitted was Ruby Bridges.

She was not initially aware of the racial intolerance of the day. That changed soon as she was taunted by white mobs screaming racial slurs at the little 6-year-old girl. One day Bridges saw someone in the crowd carrying a small coffin with a black doll in it. Despite all her fears, her response was not to hate. A message she carries to this day.

Her mother Lucille died last week at the age of 86, although in 1960 she was threatened with death for trying to educate her child. Last week Mayor LaToya Cantrell of New Orleans said Bridges “is one of the mothers of the Civil Rights Movement in New Orleans. Cantrell is the first black female mayor of New Orleans. President Barack Obama invited the Bridges family to the White House and told the pair “I think it’s fair to say that if it wasn’t for you guys, I wouldn’t be here today.”

So much rested on the small shoulders of Ruby Bridges and another brave white teacher Barbara Henry who agreed to teach her by herself. By the way, Bridges never missed a day of school her first grade year. We should never forget the shoulders we all stand on to enjoy the measure of justice we live with today.