Letter from the Editor:
The Return to “Normal”
💛 I have a small circle of about six friends I used to get together with on a somewhat regular basis before the pandemic. As you can imagine, we haven’t been able to get together in the same space—for Covid- and non-Covid-related reasons. But with the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines available to virtually everyone in the country and a relaxing of mask mandates, it’s only natural for people to venture out and behold one another face to face again.
Such was the case a week ago.
The group text message went out for us to gather over pizza. The flurry of texts didn’t hold the same lure for me, not because I don’t love my friends. I do. I love them dearly. I wasn’t ready for a group meeting of any kind.
I can count on one hand the number of friends I’ve met one-on-one for coffee.. And even those felt weird. Wait, we can sit outside? Without a mask?!
Numerous signs indicate the country is returning to a pre-pandemic sense of normalcy. Numerous signs indicate society is returning to a pre-pandemic sense of normalcy. Nothing says Americans are returning to our “normal” way of life quite like a noticeable uptick in the number of shootings. I’m referring to shootings committed by John and Jane Q Public, folks with an ax to grind but who opt for the more detached and lethal automatic-assault-rifle approach. And police-involved shootings.
I had to sit back and think why I didn’t want to see the very people I wanted to spend time with. A couple reasons came to mind. If you’re anything like me, after having mask mandates drilled into my head for the past year, mask protocol has become almost second nature. And with all the yahoos . . . people . . . running around central Florida who’ve resisted getting vaccinated, let alone wear a mask, it’s going to be a minute before I’m cool with baring the hair on my chinny chin chin in public again.
My friends and I live far enough apart that walking’s not an option, so driving is mandatory. I don’t mind driving, in and of itself. The weather’s still nice enough for me to pop the top out and feel the wind rush over my head. But there’s no denying driving comes with its own risks. Tops on the list: Black men are at greater risk of being killed by police more than white, Latino, or Asian men. And as a Black man, that’s something I think about whenever I leave my house, even though I don’t own or carry a firearm, never have. I’m not a violent person. I don’t do drugs. And I haven’t had a driving violation in decades.
For all intents and purposes, I lead the life of a choir boy. Okay. Technically, that’s not true. I don’t sing in the choir. But I do serve as a lector, which I enjoy very much. So . . . close enough.
I shared this concern a month or so ago with a friend in Texas. His reply, I don’t think you have anything to worry about. You’re a nice guy, well-spoken, with a great smile and—
I had to stop him there. The issue isn’t whether or not the folks whose lives came to tragic ends while in police custody were likable or not. Have you seen photos of Ronald Greene?! That man was handsome. He was beaten mercilessly and dragged. A great smile, a decent vocabulary, and a pleasant demeanor are a weak defense in the face of abject racism.
My thing is this: The kid-glove treatment shouldn’t be reserved for all of one type of person. And by the same token, the no holds barred treatment (police violence) . . . well, the no holds barred treatment shouldn’t be used. Physical appearance, manner of speech, gender, economic standing, skin color, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or anything else should have no bearing on whether or not an individual’s human and civil rights are upheld. Every human being deserves to be treated with respect and care. It’s a God-given right. And command.
So for the moment, that’s where I am, folks: Feeling angsty about returning to our national normal—Covid notwithstanding. Having concerns that one could be the next victim of police or gun violence while moving about freely should never be dismissed as the norm. Under any circumstance.
And I’m willing to bet I’m not the only Black person experiencing a degree of angst over these issues.
In This Issue
- New This Week: The Ongoing Work of Antiracism by Madison Pattin, The LGBTQ Seat at Christ’s Table by Clay Rivers
- In Case You Missed It: Marley K pens this week’s legacy article, The Invisible Scars of Microaggressions
- Shameless Plug: Meet Anti-Racism Writer Clay Rivers - Sharon's Anti-Racism Newsletter
- Support OHF Weekly and Our Human Family
- Final Thoughts
New This Week
by Madison Pattin
With the conviction of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd, many allies think, Yay! Racism is solved! I can check that off the list and move on. The fact is many allies have “moved on.” In her second OHF Weekly article, Madison Pattin explains how such thinking couldn’t be further from the truth. She also provides practical means for furthering one’s allyship given the work left to do.
by Clay Rivers
June is LGBTQ Pride Month. Amidst the celebrations of LGBTQ identity in the continuing battle for equal rights and inclusion, LGBTQ Christians are rarely welcomed to pursue a relationship with Christ. In fact, most are shunned. OHF Weekly Editor-in-Chief Clay Rivers delivers a message of hope and promise.
In Case You Missed It
by Marley K
If you’re unfamiliar with the term microaggressions, this article is for you. OHF Weekly writer and fan-favorite Marley K provides readers with not only a textbook definition but also recounts firsthand lived experiences, as well as the impact upon her own life and the lives of others. This one you shouldn’t miss again.
by Sharon Hurley-Hall
I had the pleasure of being interviewed by anti-racism writer, journalist, and B2B writer, Sharon Hurley-Hall. It was a great opportunity to share, reflect, and look forward. Be sure to check it out and Sharon’s many articles on anti-racism. Hers is a unique voice in the world of anti-racism.
Support OHF Weekly
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Have a great weekend and upcoming week.
Love one another.
Our Human Family, Founder and Editor-in-Chief