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Looking Beyond the Mask

“Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world…love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally. The broken world waits in the darkness for the light that is you.” 

The most dangerous epidemic in this country is not COVID. 

On Monday, May 25, 2020 the world witnessed the cruel, inhumane and brutal death of 46-year-old George Floyd.  Sadly, Mr. Floyd’s death is the latest of countless other unarmed African Americans whose lives were taken at the hands of those who hate and seek to divide and destroy our dream of peace, civility, and opportunity.

The eight minutes and forty-six second execution of George Floyd unleashed a deep guttural anguish, not just in the Black community, but in the souls of humanity, sparking protests around the world.  The determination to be heard, to demand justice and recognition that Black Lives do matter, superseded the risk of becoming ill with Coronavirus.  In fact, we are reminded that this nation’s original sin, racism, has been and continues to be the most pervasive epidemic in our American story.

COVID-19 has magnified the inequities facing poor people in this country, especially Black and Brown people. People of color are disproportionately impacted by poverty, health disparities, poor educational systems, generational trauma, a biased criminal justice system and community violence. Coupled with the corrosive impact of racism, how could anyone fail to understand the hurt, anger and disillusionment on display in streets across the country and the world? We all must look beyond the mask, not just the one protecting us from COVID – but the mask society uses to cover up institutional racism, inequality, injustice and even murder.

During times like these it is hard to process everything. Like you, I am in deep pain and anguish, wondering what to say when there are no words. The words, as an American, I wish I could hold to, are found in the Declaration of Independence, “we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” It’s devastating these words have failed me and all African Americans.

My mother had to anchor me as she always does, by reminding me that CSR is doing the work of change, one child, one family at a time. We may not know everything to do or say, but we know how to show love even as so many of us feel despair. We may not be able to right the wrongs of the world, but it is important to know that we are the world to the people we serve!  They trust us to help keep families stay together, to help provide shelter, safe homes for abused and neglected children, to provide emotional validation and comfort. That is what YOU do, CSR! Social justice activist, L.R. Knost, said, “Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world…love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally. The broken world waits in the darkness for the light that is you.” 

When we feel out of control, we can begin to regain it through action, positive action that can lead to real change. SPEAK UP FOR WHAT OUR COMMUNITY NEEDS, SUPPORT OUR LOCAL LEADERS WHO ARE PRESSING FOR POSITIVE CHANGE, and VOTE.

As you protest, raise your voices and demand justice, keep your mask on for your protection and those around you; however, know that there is strength, dignity and humanity beyond your mask. Together, We Rise. Together, we will expose the mask of injustice and racism and remove the knee that has been on our necks for 400 years!