Michael A. Grant, J.D.
President, United Security Financial Inc.
This article is a clarion call to anyone who has an audience with the African-American community. That means radio announcers, celebrities like actors or rappers, ministers or leaders generally.
Those who are younger might be unintentionally causing harm to the elderly and those who have health challenges. It appears that far too many young people, by refusing to follow CDC guidelines: wearing face masks in public places, practicing social distancing, washing hands or using hand sanitizers and keeping counters and tables in the home disinfected, are causing their elderly relatives to become infected with the novel coronavirus. We are in urgent need of sounding the alarm: We must all do everything that we can to stop the spread of this deadly virus!
Radio announcers must become drum majors leading a national awareness campaign with the message: “Only you can stop this menace, this killer of our people.” Rappers and other celebrities must use every medium available to them: social media, radio, zoom conferences, etc. to warn the public; especially the young, that by not following the protocol given to us by the health experts, we might be inviting the needless, serious illness and death of our people.
It is understandable that younger people feel less threatened, even invincible. However, in some cases, they, too, can succumb to illness and death. But the greater threat is to older family members and those with chronic health conditions.
We must act now! An intense round-the-clock campaign must capture the attention of the young. This menace to the human race is a real and immediate threat. Hospitals and intensive care units are reaching capacity. Some of the ill might have to be turned away. This is serious business and each of us must do all that we can to protect the vulnerable among us as well as ourselves.
Recently, a 30-year-old African-American male in Nashville, Tenn. died from complications caused by the coronavirus. But those most at risk for death are the elderly. Quoted in this article is an Alabama pastor who buried eight people last week and three the week prior to that. All perished because they became infected with the coronavirus. At the writing of this article, he has now attended the funerals of at least 16 victims of the coronavirus.
That pastor, the Rev. Dr. Wendell Jones of Mount Zion AME Church of Opelika, Ala., has made some crucial observations about how thousands of elderly people have died from the virus; yet many of them were secluded in nursing homes or their own homes. He pleads with family members and youth to protect themselves and their elderly loved ones:
“The multiple deaths that we’re dealing with, the funerals that I have to attend, the one thing that crushes my heart is that grandchildren, cousins, and other family members would come in and they’re not protecting themselves,” said Rev. Jones. “It just hurts my heart the selfish way that we approach this pandemic – ‘I’m healthy, I’m young, I’m vibrant. I work out.’ – And so, we think that we’re immune to the virus. But you have to think of those other people that you come into contact with, you have to think of your family members.”
Rev. Jones lovingly recalls one of his own members, 81-year-old Mr. Allen Floyd, who became known as the father of the church. That’s because he was so faithful in serving the pulpit with ice water and tea every Sunday that they gave him a new suit for Father’s Day.
If you are reading this article, the message to you is this: Sound the alarm that we are losing this battle against the coronavirus because we are not taking it seriously!
Remember: No one will save us but us. And no one should save us if we are not doing everything within our power to stop the spread of this highly contagious disease. To those who believe that God will protect us from this Coronavirus, please believe that Almighty God will help those who try to help themselves.
We can defeat the coronavirus, but we must remain vigilant; we must follow the CDC guidelines; and we must be actively engaged in an on-going battle of protecting ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities.
If everyone does his or her part, collectively, we will end this scourge and maybe, even before a vaccine is available, we can bend the curve downward, even flatten it.
As Rev. Jones said, “I just pray that our young people will realize the severity of the situation that we’re in. As a united family, we can make this thing happen. We can crush corona at the core if we just remember to not only protect ourselves from others, but also to protect others from ourselves.”
With enough honest effort by everyone, we will eventually be able to sing: “It’s a brand new day.” WE CAN DO THIS!!!!