I’m not sure what day of the quarantine is upon us. Hopefully our readers have been sheltering in place these past few weeks and staying at home as much as possible in order to flatten the curve. I must admit, this past week was the first week where I felt a bit stir crazy about the possibility of staying indoors for the next few weeks or months. Since proper testing has not occurred and a vaccine has not been discovered, we are likely in for a long road ahead.
For a little context, the U.S. has a population of roughly 330 million people and only roughly 4 million people have been tested. With such low numbers of people who have actually been tested, there is a real need for folks to stay away from others so as not to spread the virus unknowingly. It is now clear there are several people who exhibit no symptoms but can still spread the coronavirus to others.
Like many others, I have been spending a large amount of my time on Zoom meetings for work and FaceTime catchups with friends. I was recently on a call with my friends in Baltimore and my dear friend Darrick reminded me that now is the time to “activate.” As we talked about the current coronavirus––all of the families in need, the loss of life, the lack of leadership at the federal level––the word he consistently used was “activate.”
What Darrick explained in detail was the need for all of us to activate the teachings of our parents and grandparents. We are actually prepared for this moment. We have had people praying for us and planning for our survival for generations, long before we ever came into existence. Now is the time we not only remember this fact, but activate our belief that we are in this moment because we have all of the tools we need for ourselves, those we love, and for those in our community.
I know many families and full communities have extreme hardships on the horizon. Some may be grappling with health issues or the loss of loved ones. Others may not see a light at the end of the economic tunnel. However, it is in this moment where we must dig deep and recognize the reservoir of resources that we possess and the abundance around us. “A closed mouth doesn’t get fed” is a saying of my late grandmother. Now more than ever it is important for us to reach out if we are in need of assistance––mental, emotional, financial, spiritual, physical and more.
We stand firmly on a foundation paved by the blood and sweat of our ancestors. Now is the time to activate that strength. You possess it. Don’t ever doubt it.
Christina Greer, Ph.D., is an associate professor at Fordham University, political editor at The Grio, the author of “Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream,” and the co-host of the podcast FAQ-NYC.