Happy Easter to all who celebrate. I remembered this morning that I had told an Easter Story at Stage Werx in San Francisco two years ago, the last time I performed at that beloved SF venue. Lo and behold, I found the video this morning. So, I am sharing with you today. It’s 20 minutes long. I shared it two years ago.
This Easter also coincides with the 53rd Anniversary of the day that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was struck down by an assassin’s bullet outside his hotel room in Memphis. I think of Dr. King often, remembering his global vision of fighting for justice in all forms, including economic justice. And that is inextricably tied with racial justice since so much of our nations’ economic disparity is directly related to opportunities that were not available for our parents and grandparents as a result of the nation’s laws that allowed (better yet demanded) segregation and second-class treatment of black and brown people with respect to education, housing, voting, employment opportunity, and the list goes on and on. Efforts to curtail our rights, particularly with respect to voting, are getting the full-court press, and we must fight against them, today and every day.
Last Easter we were just beginning to see the toll COVID-19 was taking especially in communities of color. We were getting wildly distorted (and outright false) information from our government about COVID and what we could do to protect ourselves and each other. Little did we know what pain and sorrow awaited so many who would lose family members, in some instances, multiple loved ones. Or the financial wreckage it would leave in its wake, especially among the most vulnerable.
Last Easter we had not yet seen Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin take a knee on George Floyd’s neck, and extinguish his life. As I watch highlights of the Chauvin trial, my heart breaks at the pain of those who witnessed the event first-hand, and the trauma and grief so many of us feel about how racism kills. BLM reminds us to say their names -- men and women killed by police violence. And many people die at the hands of others, filled with hate which has been stoked in no small part by politicians and so-called media personalities. The Walmart Massacre in El Paso claimed 23 lives (46 people were shot) mostly Latinos and the spa killings in the Atlanta area, which targeted Asian women killed eight people, six of them Asian women. The perpetrators - two young white men who targeted people of color. I am hopeful that justice will be done in prosecuting all these cases. And I am moved by the activism of young people (and folks of all ages) who are speaking up for racial justice.
I am also hopeful that our nation is moving in the right direction. We are putting programs in place that provide a social safety net much needed right now. We are investing in our nation’s future. A highly effective vaccine was developed in record time and is being administered daily in unimagined numbers all over the country. More needs to be done to get it to the most vulnerable communities. Those of us who can afford to help others who have lost their livelihoods should dig deep in our pockets and give to the multiple worthy causes serving people in need. Right in your community, there are folks you interact with who would appreciate your generosity. Maybe your tip to the food delivery person can be bumped up to 50% rather than 20% once in a while. Imagine that person being able to buy a little something they otherwise could not give to their children, their parent, their partner. And also send a donation to a food bank. Have you seen the lines of people waiting for food? Sadly, there is much suffering and want in our country.
What better time to be generous than when we are moved by the spirit of resurrection and renewal? We renew our faith in our community by service and generosity and lending a hand to those in need.
Looking forward to seeing folks again in person, whenever the time may be right. Best wishes as we move forward into Spring.