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Let Us Get Busy

Photo credits, clockwise from upper left: Kristine Wook, Cristina Eisenberg, Nathen Domlo, wusa9.com

By Jacqueline Johnson

“We have to live different lives,
or we will die,
in the same old ways.”
-Alice Walker

I.

What I fear is that we will not change swift enough to meet this moment.
What I fear is we as a species will not change.
What I fear is we will not change.

Just a year ago I lay on an acupuncturist table, needles scattered across meridians from my temple to my ankles. Everything is energy. Everything is wise touch. Halfway through the session, the meridians start to talk to each other. And in some places what is an ebb, becomes a river of energy. That was March 3rd, my last acupuncture session. The three remaining sessions were cancelled before the end of the following week.

The Covid-19 pandemic has revealed so many BIPOC folks living under the scythe of too many pre-conditions and caught in a system of medical apartheid. Just a year ago I signed a petition for compassionate care to get the experimental drug Remdisvir to Zoe Mungin, a sixth-grade teacher in New York. Zoe hung on for three months and was turned down for treatment three times. She was thirty. What? What made her un-savable?

Covid-19 has revealed the shortcomings and failures throughout our medical system and its approaches to BIPOC folks. Even as vaccines are distributed, the numbers in BIPOC communities are lower than other communities. The whole business of who believes or hears that your pain is painful and a signal for a need for treatment is quite dicey. Which doctors hear BIPOC folks? So many people died going back and forth from emergency rooms and home. My cousin and her husband who were both sick and undiagnosed were sent home three times. My cousin survived because she had a nebulizer and in desperation used it to breathe.

Healing our Black and Brown bodies is a political act.
Healing our American bodies is a political act.
Healing women’s bodies across the globe is a political act.

What of the narrative of Amber Issac, who complained of bad treatment in the hospital? Back in March of last year, she worried about being relegated to only virtual prenatal visits, who months before had the premonition she would die. Amber does die during childbirth. It is not enough to see; one must act on what is seen or given from any plane. There is a whole network of Black mid-wives and well pregnancy workers. Her outcomes might have been different had Amber Issac been able to connect to these amazing women, many whom practice both in hospitals, work closely with doctors and who do home births.

The last person I will bring up is Dr. Susan Moore, who had Covid-19. While in the hospital she complained of lack of pain meds and limited access to Remdisvir. Dr. Moore documented the treatment she was receiving from her doctors on her Facebook page. She was sent home prematurely and died three weeks later. Who hears the voices of black women sick and fully cognizant that all is not well in their bodies and their treatment? Women who speak out, complain…who end up being among the many silenced in the last year. What to say of a culture willing to sacrifice doctors, healers, teachers, and caretakers?

Healing our Black and Brown bodies is a political act.
Healing our American bodies is a political act.
Healing bodies across the globe is a political act.

II.

For years I have silently questioned how does one rewild humans?
Right now, the Goddess is rewilding the human species.
We are seeing the other face of God or perhaps it is the same one.

Now that scientists have proven they can find a vaccine in under a year. There is no excuse for taking thirty years to find a cure. And there is no excuse for sitting on potential cures until the five white guys in the FDA decide it is okay to use.

My hope is that we all return from this pandemic wiser, kinder and willing to be open to the new ideas we create in this time. My hope is that we challenge some of these old rules, centuries old paragdims. I hope more Americans and BIPOC folks change diets, habits and ways of relating to each other and all the others in this world.

Throughout this past year, I could hear my mother and grandmother’s spirits saying, “Stay positive!” This mantra, these two words have gotten me through the worst days of this pandemic. What can I offer in the spirit of hope? Thankfulness for breath. Thankfulness for plenty of food, a roof over my head, the tight network of friends and family. Thankfulness for art that saves me over and over again. For words that bring wisdom, tears and always truth. Thankfulness for the power of the Earth.

Somewhere past poverty and miseries of all kinds are BIPOC folks and plenty others taking loving care of themselves and community; growing gardens, studying herbs and alternative healing practices; and reversing chronic diseases. There are therapists and empaths using their countervailing wisdom to challenge emotional sicknesses and whom are teaching ways of a different kind of knowing and ways of being in the world. There is a lot of work to do as we reimagine the vast possibilities of how we all can live better in this world. There is a lot of work to do. Let us get busy.

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Jacqueline Johnson
Brooklyn
2021

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