Is America Great Again?
My husband and I closed our business two and half months ago because we thought it was necessary to keep the staff, children and families in our preschool safe during the Covid-19 pandemic. We were concerned about our 200 low-income children of color and their families. How will they eat? How will families pay their rent? How will children continue to learn? How will families survive the pandemic with all the challenges they already face? We worried if we would lose our business permanently. We worried that we might need to lay individuals off. Despite these worries, which consumed us day and night, we worked to do our best for our staff, families and children. Our goal was to ensure the safety of our staff, children and families.
Despite our best efforts, I found myself saddened by America during the Covid-19 pandemic. Disgusted, because the pandemic and those infected by the pandemic shed a light on the inequity of African-Americans and poor people in this country. My sadness turned to disappointment and anger with the recent racial attacks that have emerged that resulted in the murder of African-Americans in America during the pandemic.
What is great about an America, where many poor people are forced to go to work while they are sick during the pandemic?
What is great about an America where Amy Cooper, a white woman, can call 911 and make a false claim against an innocent black man in Central Park while he bird watches?
What is great about an America in which a young African-America woman, Breonna Taylor, is murdered by police officers in error at 1 a.m. in the morning?
What is great about America where a black man, Ahmaud Arbery, can be murdered by white men, while jogging?
What is great about an America where a black man, George Floyd, can be murdered in broad daylight, by an officer who is supposed to protect and serve?
What is great about an America in which the President threatens protesters with vicious dogs and calls protestors thugs?
My anger and disappointment turned to hopelessness, when I watched the murder of George Floyd by a white officer and I watched as innocent bystanders pleaded with the officer to get off his neck but they were unable to do anything additional to save his life because they knew that they may have had their own lives compromised.
This is not a great America. This is not a safe America. Even during the pandemic the lives of African-Americans are undervalued. People have a right to be angry about the racism that exists in this country. People have a right to peacefully protest. People have a right to express their disdain for a president who has shown no respect for African-Americans and other groups for that matter.
So, our worries continue. As we continue to try keep our businesses afloat, as we begin the process of reopening, as we continue to try to support families, staff and children, as we continue to try to explain these senseless murders to our teenager daughters, we must also continue to speak loudly about the injustice that is taking the very lives of the African-American men and women who look like us and our brothers, sisters, cousins, nieces, nephews and friends. We must continue to develop ways to unequivocally denounce and hold accountable the racist behavior of law enforcement, political leaders and citizens of this country who do not care about African-Americans and people of color.
Racism is very much alive and we must model the world we want our children to experience. If we want a better America, we need to begin with better leadership in this country. We need a better leadership in the White House. This is not a great America! America has not been made great. America has and continues to be destroyed.
Defeating racism will require a collective effort that crosses political parties, religion, gender, ethnic backgrounds and age. It will require a boldness and courage from all individuals about these issues. It will require an investment rooted in hard work dedicated to fighting for change. It will not be easy. This fight against racism must be continuous. It cannot begin and end only when national issues of injustice surfaces to the forefront. We have injustice in the communities in which we work and where we live. This injustice is masked in policies, practices and systems designed by individuals who for years have contributed to the destruction of African-Americans, poor people and people of color.
We will not conquer racism by looting, killing each other or by destroying property. We must vote. We must stand together to fight for change. We must be the voice of those who everyday experience racism and who are not given the time of day because they are poor, do not speak English, do not speak the way people want them to speak or who are oblivious of their rights and how to fight for them.
We must not give up on a better America. We must not throw in the towel. We must not simply look at our TV screens and weep. We must not develop an anger that turns into revenge. We must stop making excuses and no longer support individuals like the mayor of Petal, Mississippi, who stated in a response to Floyd's murder, he didn't see any "unreasonable" conduct from the officers, adding: "If you can say you can't breathe, you're breathing" and "Most likely that man died of an overdose or heart attack."
We owe it to ourselves, our children, both biological, in our preschools and throughout this country, to be the America that we can be. An America where all people experience liberty and justice. It's up to us to be the change we want to see.
It's a matter of life and death.
Optimistic Toward a Better Today and Tomorrow,
We must not give up on a better America. We must not throw in the towel. We must not simply look at our TV screens and weep. We must not develop an anger that turns into revenge. We must stop making excuses and no longer support individuals like, Hal Marx, the mayor of Petal, Mississippi, who stated in a response to Floyd's murder, he didn't see any "unreasonable" conduct from the officers, adding: "If you can say you can't breathe, you're breathing" and "Most likely that man died of an overdose or heart attack."
Well Said -How can America be great if we can't take the time to understand all the people who make up America.
I encourage people that haven't to read the words to the national Anthem and compare it to what we see happening in our Great America and tell me is is great!
I really hope and pray that our current state is a wake up call and we are able to put in place laws of equality and a system of change!Thank you , Monisha
I really appreciate your honesty.
Monisha,I appreciate your well presented and articulated statement about the question that needs great dissection...is American great again? That would depend on who's narrative we are subscribing to. I would say it's questionable for the African American community to ever say great again...considering the inequalities that still exist present day it is safe say we still have far to go.
I think tapping into the lens of great leaders like Malcolm X and MLK we now know that the inequalities experienced by people of color and poverty as a whole for this country we can see that America possible has only been great to an extent....a debatable extent.What is promising is now that we are in the climate of uncertainty and paused routines we now have the opportunity to make a change without the high demands of work...well at least not the physical demand of being in an professional setting now we are at home and there is some flexibility.Peace and Love to you! I send positive energy and support your way!