The R & B group The Chi-Lites penned a song back in 1970 that wasn’t a major hit but yet impacted me with its provocative message. It was a rather stimulating message that showcased, as always, the amazing vocals of the group. It may have been one of the first records I ever bought from the local A&R record store on Sheridan Road (those of us who are true old school remember that place, right?)
In this the year of COVID-19 and the shutting down of our “normal” way of living, it is ironic how relevant the words of a song from 50 years ago are in today’s situation. Here is the first stanza:
There are some people up there hogging everything,
Telling lies, giving alibis,
About the people’s money and things.
And if they gonna throw it away,
Might as well give some to me,
Yeah they seen and heard it
But never had misery.
There are some people who are starvin’ to deathNever knew but only heard us, and they never had happiness,If you don’t have enough to eat, how can you think of loveYou don’t have the time to care so it’s crime you’re guilty of, oh yeah
And here we are in the third decade of the 21st century, and not much has changed in the United States of America. Greed. Lies. Hunger and homelessness. Police brutality.
The health disparities in our communities are still lagging behind those of White residents. The fact that automation has displaced millions of workers, and the off-shoring of manufacturing jobs to “cheap-labor” countries like China and Mexico, has us feeling like we are having a nightmare from which we cannot awaken. And, enter a coronavirus that is impacting Black and Brown people disproportionately, not to mention the person in the White House who is more concerned with sending children back to school than saving lives by wearing facial coverings.
As of July 15, 2020, the number of Americans who have filed for unemployment benefits since March is between 31.3 million to 33.5 million. That does not count people who have not filed for unemployment. Many small businesses have closed, unable to withstand months of reduced or non-existent revenue. Larger companies are filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the hopes they can restructure their businesses and stay afloat until the pandemic is resolved.
What can we do as a community to survive this time of cataclysmic change? I doubt that there is any one answer that would suffice. However, what I do BELIEVE is that we have within us a time-honored and proven ability to weather every storm. Our ancestors survived enslavement, Jim Crow segregation, lynching, and abject racism at every turn. Their diligence and perseverance provide a road map to how we can attain success in our times of upheaval. This is our time to link arms, organize and pool our resources to ensure that we all get through this intact.
Find and support local Black-owned businesses that provide products/services you need. If you need to order products online, search them out and buy directly from them, bypassing the Amazon monolith. Invest time and money in online educational programs that will provide information, and possibly income in the world we look to return to post-COVID-19. The distractions of NBA basketball, MMA fights, concerts, and more have been removed for a while longer. Use this time wisely. Eat meals with your family. Get to know your neighbors.
For when we are unified, educated, and driven by a higher purpose, we will be the force to be reckoned with that our “sleeping ancestors” prayed on bended knees would rise in POWER.
The last stanza of the song ends like this:
There’s no price for happiness, there’s no price for loveUp goes the price of livin’, and you’re right back where you wasSo whatever you got, just be glad you got itNow we’re gonna get on up and get some more of it
This is OUR TIME to GIVE More Power to The PEOPLE.