S. E. Williams | Keeping it Real
“Celebrate endings—for they precede new beginnings.”
– Jonathan Lockwood Huie
As Joe Biden and Kamala Harris took their oaths of office Jan. 20, I felt an overwhelming sense of relief, gratitude, hope and cautious optimism—America was beginning again, embracing another opportunity to progress toward the illusive, more perfect union. In a most significant way, Inauguration Day 2021 for many of us, was truly morning in America.
Among the anticipation of what lies ahead, still lingers an unforgiving virus and the greatest gift President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris gave the country last week was to stop the nation for just a few minutes from its usually frenzied pace of continuous, 24 hours a day, sometimes mindless motion and remember together, as a nation, the 400,000 plus lives taken too soon by an invisible scourge that is simultaneously indiscriminate, debilitating, deadly and unforgiving.
And so, as Professor Eddie Glaude Jr., Professor and Chair of the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University expressed so eloquently, we find ourselves, “mourning in the morning.”
The national acknowledgement of those lost to COVID-19 was needed. The four-hundred lights lining the reflecting pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial, each light representing 1,000 lives lost to the virus, was a simple and yet profound act of grace. It served as a powerful and long overdue healing balm for the soul of America.
Yet, even with the hope of the new administration and its laser focus on bringing order, science and determined leadership to gain control of the currently unmanageable pandemic, people remain at risk.
Everyone knows what each of us can do to keep ourselves, our loved ones and others, safe—wear a mask, social distance and avoid gatherings with those outside your home. Most importantly, for those who are still hesitant about being vaccinated, consult your physician, and then seriously consider saying, “Yes, I’ll get vaccinated.”
In 2020, we battled the coronavirus through every season. The virus did not abate in the summer, nor go dormant in the winter. People died in the spring and in the fall.
It is true people of color are dying in greater numbers and it is also true, Whites are dying as well. COVID-19 is not selective—it comes for the rich and the poor, the young and the elderly, those with underlying health conditions and those without, the infamous, notorious and the celebrated. It is claiming the lives of prisoners and police, of district attorneys, lawyers, and judges; teachers, students, and school administrators; doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, and patients; the mail carrier, long-haul truck driver, grocery store clerk and warehouse worker. Though the battle against the virus continues, the new national leadership has a plan.
In this morning of the Biden-Harris Administration, as it works for a viable way through this pandemic, the only thing certain in this moment is the virus continues to make people sick, some will die, and we, as individuals, communities and the nation, will continue to mourn.
Yet, we also know every condition is only temporary, that the world will eventually defeat the coronavirus and as it is written, “joy cometh in the morning.”
Until then, let us support efforts to get the virus under control in every way we can. Wear a mask, social distance, avoid crowds, get vaccinated and look to a brighter tomorrow.
Of course, this is just my opinion. I’m keeping it real.
S. E. Williams is executive editor of the IE Voice and Black Voice News.