America is a leading country that harbors the most cases of COVID-19. Our government’s leader did not act and is not doing everything possible to keep citizens safe. We have to be vigilant through our own personal stamina and respect for our neighbors and community. It is important to understand that a vaccine is on its way, but while we wait, it is vital that we continue to look out for one another—checking on our elderly family and neighbors, keeping children socially distanced as much as possible while keeping them connected to their schools, family and friends via technology, and understanding that many people in our communities don’t have access to resources, food and internet. We should be there to help in any way we can, large or small.

As I explored recent online media, I found two things that peaked my interest. Cardi B’s interview with Joe Biden and the conversation surrounding the book, “Black Freethinkers: A History of African American Secularism.”

In Cardi B’s conversation with the Democratic presidential hope Joe Biden, she makes a statement in response to the George Floyd murder and the broad and numerous accounts of police brutality in America:

“Black people, we’re not asking for sympathy, we are not asking for charity, we are just asking for equality. We are asking for fairness and we are asking for justice.”

Her statement was clear, precise and resonant, and I am glad she takes the time to speak to our nation’s leaders, working as an agent for change in America.

As I continued my journey through countless articles of information, I came upon a wonderful essay by Lauren T. Rorie called “Agents of Change: Black Freethinkers Then and Now.” Rorie writes, “Religion, as part of the trifecta of ‘sex, politics, and religion’ is the most under-examined aspect of contemporary Black feminist movements, particularly in the United States. Globally women flooded the streets on March 8th for International Women’s day to address intersectional policies such as, sexism, race, the racial state, and religious pluralism, including space for non-believers. New Black feminist leaders Candace Gorham, Mandisa Thomas, Jamila Bey, and Bridgette Crutchfield have emerged as agents of change by creating literary and physical safe spaces for non-religiosity.”

I am not against religion, in fact, my father was a preacher for 40 years. I just found the title of the article and the conversation around Black feminism and creating safe spaces for secular people––people who aren’t religious to express themselves through activism and complete openness. The book “Black Freethinkers” uses adept analytical skills when reflecting on the ideas of Fredrick Douglass, Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin and others through their letters and speeches.

I think it’s always important to seek out Black thought in many tones and perspectives. Some Black people think the institution of religion is oppressive and some find it to be a staple and the foundation of Black America. I think we explore different ways of thinking in order to inform our own beliefs or non-beliefs.