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Chief Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Officer Veronica Calderon Discusses The Tale of Two Pandemics!

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What a coincidence, that the two pandemics we are about to explore affects the same demographic of people. We are currently fighting racism and covid-19 – two pandemics that are making it very clear that racial inequalities and healthcare disparities are in the makeup of the United States of America. Two pandemics with one common denominator, killing black and brown. Both pandemics attack a person’s ability to breath – one due to the knee on one’s neck for 8 minutes 43 seconds and 500+ years and the other one because it attacks your lungs. So, both pandemics shout: I CAN’T BREATHE.

The racism pandemic– has been around for over 500+ years and yet, we ought to find a cure. Why can’t We find a cure? Because the cure for racism means for White Americans to face themselves and use the privilege to make systemic changes that will be equal for all and not just for the benefit of them. It takes to be uncomfortable confronting biases that were created by circumstances and teachings about someone’s SKIN color and not their character.  To face a judicial system that allows you to walk freely because you are white but making it clear that you can’t jog while black. An unearned privilege to many, and history of policies and laws that makes you GUILTY simply because of the COLOR of their SKIN. The color of the skin that has built and lifted in its backs, your beloved MERICA, built it from the ground up, yet Black Americans still can’t earn many of its benefits. This pandemic is rooted into the makeup of the country, the laws, the policies, the judicial system and every other system that determined that Black Americans were not good enough to be part of society – BUT, we can use your culture, your food, your traditions, your customs as we please, without care or ever asking for permission. A pandemic that started by enslaving innocent African Natives for the good and power of Whites. So, 500 years later, where is the vaccine of a pandemic that affects folks who also bleed red? Where is THE cure?

Millions of Africans were forced to be African Americans – so now you are forced to find a cure. My friends exclaim: It’s exhausting, I’m tired of fighting for my freedom, I’m spent- explaining to people that we are also Americans, I can’t do this anymore, another one of us, is my son next?, in what generation will we stop teaching our kids that “driving while black” is in their future, that regardless how far you get in life – people will see you for the color of your skin and not for the contributions you have had in the world, slavery was NOT conceptual…. THEY SAID NO. 

Where is the PPE that as a country we need to provide for our black lives to survive the racism pandemic?

According to the CDC covid-19 / coronavirus is killing black and brown adults in their mid-30’s to mid-50’s at levels 6 to 10 times higher than whites.

WHY is that you might ask?

It’s called racial INEQUIALITY, meaning the social advantages and disparities that affect different races due to the history of oppression, inequity of inheritance, and overall prejudice to name a few. To fight this pandemic, the country and organizations have deployed new measures around infectious disease control, purchased millions of masks and other PPE to prevent the virus from spreading, we closed the country to prevent people from gathering to stop the spread…. 

But what if… JUST what if … we were able to apply the same intentionality, policy changes to fight racism as well? What does PPE look like for someone who is constantly being questioned about their intentions just for buying a bag of skittles?

What does PPE look like when you get shot while black sleeping? What if your voice was assertive in the boardroom? And not deemed as the mad black woman?, What does PPE look like when your kid does not return home alive from a jog?, what does PPE look like when you are wrongly accused of a crime? a crime that made you a criminal only because of the color of your skin?

Does that PPE look like an equitable healthcare reform that does not leave out Black Americans?, does that PPE look like a justice system that ensures that your son will make it home after a 2.23 mile jog?, does that PPE look like companies understanding and never underestimating  your value as a human because of the color of your skin?, does that PPEE look like equal pay?, does that PPE look like police reform and penalizing police brutality? – just like the system that penalizes an innocent black males. 

What does that PPE look like America? 

Don’t hide behind your pride for a FLAG and feel disrespected when someone does not stand tall like you to sing the national anthem in protest, don’t hide behind the truth that is KILLING Americans just like YOU. Remember they at still on the ground asking to breathe, they CAN’T STAND tall to a flag that does not protect their rights.

The plead for freedom comes in a form of an “I CAN’T BREATHE” a plead that is not new, but that it must be heard.

While some shout I need a haircut, it’s my freedom – We have our black brothers and sisters asking to simply JUST BREATH!! 

Inspired by people I love, YOU my black friends and coworkers – I see you, I hear you, I will stand with you and I will fight for you!

After working 4 years as a reputed journalist, Jerome wanted to explore internet-based journalism. He brought together the idea of USA Reformer to dispatch news that serves the need of readers with perfect information. He also contributes as a business news writer for the website.

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