By Racheal Gaines
We need to help save the lives of our people who are resistant to change.
After hunkering down at home for 10 weeks, I finally had to make a trek outside to shop for groceries. I was shocked to see the amount of people outside shopping as I thought it would be a lot less. I was even more stunned to see how many black people, old and young shopping without masks or gloves and side eyeing me as though I was doing something wrong. As I shopped I saw a group of 4 young black male teens, a black grandmother with her teen granddaughter ( the granddaughter yelled out “grandma”), and about 5-8 other black individuals, all without gloves or masks, who had the look of deer in headlights when I looked them in the face or the look of defiance and indifference. I walked around and asked each of them if they needed masks, most said no, the ones who said yes were afraid to take them from me. I have not been able to sleep peacefully as those images on t.v. of my people dying unnecessarily float through my mind and I need help to try to be a part of the solution to save the lives of people knowing each life is so precious.
As a very young girl, I remember Milton Street, brother of former Philadelphia mayor John street, went thru the Black neighborhoods at 6 am in his car with a bull horn waking us out of our slumber, as he told us that the money for urban housing redevelopment was being redistributed by then Mayor Rizzo to build a high end shopping mall called “The Gallery” in downtown Philadelphia. He went on to say that white folk in power had no problem doing it blatantly because we never stand up for ourselves and protest any unfair treatment used against us to keep us docile and poor. He said white folk consider us lazy, uneducated, and incapable of forming any cohesiveness that would benefit the whole group as opposed to individually. He went on to say that most educated black people have an aversion to their own people, which causes them not to reach back down into the community to help the un-empowered, invisible and disadvantaged that they themselves grew up in. As slavery has taught us that sticking together would lead to separation by selling off family members. Although we are no longer slaves we still live as though we are and carry the same slave traditions as it has been carried from generation to generation for so long that it is now embedded in our DNA.
Before slavery, we were a mighty people, kings, queens, pharaohs, who led the world in science, education, and religion. When Europeans entered Africa and declared God gave them the divine right to enslave us they stole us from our land, stole our land, stole our knowledge and history and said it was theirs. Then they declared us animals, gave us their religion and values that kept us docile and self-destructive, so we would always put their well- being before our own. That is why we have never been able to pull ourselves out of the disadvantaged position in America. Whenever we are in conflict, we turn to the self- destructive behaviors and values that our ancestors were taught as slaves and passed down to us, keeping us in a perpetual self- destructive position in life. During slavery they translated the bible to keep us subservient, and made our people teach subservience to each other. That is why many can’t pay their bills, but give to wealthy pastors who have learned the bible game and use it to fatten their pockets, but the congregation never advances in life in any meaningful way. That is why we will put our lives in jeopardy to save a white establishment that hates us, sees us only as servants for keeping 99.9% of the wealth in their hands. That is why we have never been able to pull ourselves up further. It is the system created to keep us at less than 1% of the wealth in this United States of America, thus keeping us in servitude and disadvantaged. Race is a man-made concept. It is a race for power, wealth through attainment of land, gold, and property and we are at the losing end of this race for lack of knowledge of the game being played on us.
As Milton, circled the neighborhood educating us, he called out for people to get dressed, meet him in front of the Gallery and boycott. I was about 13-year old, as my mother dressed me, and we proceeded to catch the bus down to that location. We, as black people know our people. They are resistant to change. We know what to say to trigger them into corrective measures to save lives. We know how to pique their emotions, and what to say to inspire action. It is up to us to instill empowerment in them to help stop the unnecessary deaths of families in many of our communities. IT is a MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH. Our people have come too far to just watch them be annihilated in front of our faces, without doing everything possible, as if each were our very own children, brothers, sisters, grandparents. we can do in a desperate attempt to preserve lives. I know how they feel, I know about the hopelessness and despair I see in their faces. They need to be reached on a deeper level other than over the t.v., radio or newspaper. We need go to our people and talk to our people. We must instill hope, encouragement, and love by going to where they are and speaking to their hearts to bring them from a place of hopelessness and despair to a place of empowerment and determination.
I am writing to implore you to turn over every leaf necessary to save as many of us as possible like it was our own lives at stake, because it is. Obviously, the governor, president and white establishment see us as only worthless casualties in this war, test rats to watch to see where the curve is, where the cure is, where the immunity may be discovered to advance them.
I would like our educated scientist, doctors and researchers to find out what value we may hold in immunity and cure before any other group of people with indifference to how many of us have to sacrifice our lives to find the cure to help their people. So, it is solely up to us to use our skills, education, and our good sense that out parents gave us to dig deep into the hearts and minds of our people who need our direction and guidance more than ever to overcome our circumstances. This is a matter of all our survival. I am asking for a team psychologist, public speakers, survivors, young and old who lost family members, black doctors, black nurses, black scientist, black leaders, our preachers and pastors, teachers, etc, to form a cohesive group to deliver a message of love, hope, empowerment, responsibility and pride by a drive thru of our neighborhoods and talk with our people with our hearts in our hands, to speak life into our people, so they will realize that we are all we have to survive and are interdependent upon each other to forge through this scourge. They need to know they are precious and needed and loved and have a future with a mission to help each other through this. A mission to encourage each to save a life by wearing proper PPE, helping their neighbors, who need PPE, asking the leaders in each neighborhood, each street, each home to help in the cause to save each other from preventable death. We must encourage mothers to speak love to their scared children to calm them, give them the words if we must, so the children are in a place of empowerment and can transmit that to their peers. We must encourage the grandparents to talk to the youngsters with wisdom and truth. We must get them all the PPE if we can. We can ask them if they need PPE to leave a yellow cloth in the window or something similar to that effect. We must teach survival skills. We must be our own saviors by speaking love to each other. All of us must step up and be the leaders to teach what we know. Tell our stories of survival and triumph. I believe if we do this they will listen and act. I need all of us to survive….not one more careless death in our communities….Also stores Walmart, Home Depot, Sams etc., are posting signs and marking lines and X’s for Social Distances but you can’t get in or out the stores safely because you can’t get 6 ft from the employees by the doors. Lets start a movement to no longer shop at places where we are not safe. Most think we will don’t care enough to refuse service that are not in our best interest and that we will take anything thrown at us we are not animals and I refuse to be treated like one. Anyone with a backyard has a resource that can grow fruits and vegetables, enough for them and their neighbors. That is power…and will save us hundreds of dollars, and is health for our immune system. We need to begin fighting back using our resources intelligently and with a purpose to empower us for a change instead of greedy selfish corporations. We must all contribute to the movement for change to inspire, empower and teach our people before we leave this earth. Let’s all transmit our wisdom with love and in harmony to each other in order to create intellectual, economic and spiritual wealth.