5 MINUTE READ
“These are unprecedented times…”We’ve heard the words drip from the lips of so many as COVID-19 ravaged through countries around the world. Amidst the turmoil, came Black Lives Matter (#BLM), a movement that resurged in the United States with a force so great, it awakened voices against oppression worldwide. As we’ve seen in the months leading to 2020, the #MeToo movement that started in 2006 by Tarana Burke had already taken hold. Then Hollywood’s #TimesUp piggyback and charges against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, veteran actor and comedian Bill Cosby and former financier Jeffrey Epstein among others for whom decades of bad behavior screamed for justice.
“The high road for a woman for centuries was silence,” actor Zoe Saldana said to Cosmopolitan Magazine. “The new high road is speaking up.”
We are witnessing history as this time proves perfectly poised to dismantle systems of oppression, greed and classism – They’re being ripped apart all around the world. As of this writing, #BLM has ignited weeks of ongoing protest around the globe.
British actor John Boyega, best known for the latest “Star Wars” movies, openly commented that he knew the professional risk and potential fallout for his empowered speech at a Black Lives Matter protest in London’s Hyde Park (Thankfully, many “Star Wars” associates showed their support via social media). ‘
In Berlin, Germany, crowds gathered outside the U.S. embassy to protest police brutality, disavow racism and support Black Lives Matter. People of color in Canada and Australia are speaking up for indigenous rights “our black people,” Says Afro-Australian Model Duckie Thot on her IGTV.
Even K-pop fans got in the mix by taking over the white lives matter hashtag on Twitter. Thousands marched across San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, along with protests all through the United States down to small towns with even smaller black populations as allies to the movement came out in force.
THE GREAT EQUALIZER
As protests sparked by #BLM seemingly have left no one untouched, so has COVID-19. It’s been called the great equalizer – attacking humans no matter race, creed, or finances. No matter the debate of “it’s real, it’s not real – follow this guidance, no – follow that;” it macht nichts (doesn’t matter) when the reaper comes to your doorstep. We are witnessing history as this time proves perfectly poised to dismantle systems of oppression, greed and classism – They’re being ripped apart all around the world.
TRIBUTE TO DAD
I lost my father to COVID-19. A proud Costa Rican immigrant, he came to the U.S. in his late teens to be with his family, who already was here. Looked upon as different, “You ‘Ricans,” my cousin says people in Brooklyn would say; they had their own community and upheld traditional values. With a reserved attitude, stately accent in English and beautifully melodic Spanish, my father wooed the ladies with his voice and charm. He had a positively calligraphic writing style — receiving a letter from him was like being gifted a work of art.
My parents divorced when I was young and my father and I reconnected during my college years. We had a lot of ups and some downs, but in the last few years, I enjoyed his knowledge and wisdom. He put himself through college driving taxis in NYC and immediately entered management training for a prominent insurance company, graduating top of the class. That should have been a golden ticket — allowing him the pick of the most prime assignments and a high salary. His White colleagues noticed though that they got to choose before him. Even so, our family looked to him as the one who “made it.”
THE LAST HURRAHH
He had prostate cancer and kept it to himself. He’d fought it off once, years before, but this time I think he knew he wouldn’t last. After his passing, his bride of 45+ years told me the stories of his chemo treatments, because even though I spoke with him almost daily until his death, we lived thousands of miles apart. He was in New York City, arguably the epicenter of the U.S. novel coronavirus outbreak, and arguably in the worst place — traveling back and forth to the hospital for chemotherapy each week. Eventually, he succumbed — having acquired the virus on a Thursday, he left us by the wee hours of Easter Sunday.
Daddy inspires me even more, today as I hear the tales of his strength and persistence as disease devastated his body for years. I think to myself all he had to endure: a dark-skinned, Spanish speaking immigrant to the U.S. in the 60s during the height of the civil rights movement. I wonder to myself if he didn’t want to live through that again, and to be sequestered in a high rise with a life-threatening disease to boot. My brother and I- we are his legacy. He is the inspiration for this issue on Blackness, COVID-19 and globalism. He and my Trinidadian mum gave me my Afro-Latin, Caribbean heritage, a global upbringing and tenacity to live through the ups and the downs — highs, lows and everything in between. For this, I am forever grateful. I will not let you down.
All the best,
Publisher and FounderCulturs — the Global Multicultural MagazineCulturs.org Cultursmag.com