Currently: A Grim Resurgence & Recent Reads

June 26, 2020

Four days ago marked a month since the beginning of my summer break. While the end of the school year was still very academically challenging despite being online and I was ready for a break, it feels so strange that I still have two months of summer vacation left. I keep thinking that my break is almost over and that school is starting up again soon since I, along with almost all students across the United States, have not been on campus for so many months. 

And, of course, the prospect of schools reopening in the fall is looking slimmer as a result of the sudden resurgence of coronavirus cases in America, particularly in the South and West in states such as Florida, Texas, California, and Arizona. Just yesterday, the United States set a new record of COVID-19 cases reported in a single day: 37,077. It is no surprise that these states have seen upticks in cases since they tended to be much more relaxed with regards to reopening plans, emphasizing the importance of social distancing measures, and encouraging residents to wear masks. Hopefully, however, this terrible surge will empower leaders to take the virus more seriously and disregard the extremely unfortunate politicization of mask wearing by reminding people of their necessity in limiting contagion.

The recent resurgence of cases is a dark reminder that the United States is still in the midst of battling this pandemic and that as citizens, it is imperative that we do not become complacent but instead comply with recommendation of health officials to prioritize social distancing and mask wearing. Of course, following these guidelines does not mean that we have to lock ourselves inside all day; there are so many ways to enjoy the warm weather of the summertime without potentially contributing to the spread of the virus. I am hoping to create a post in the next couple of days outlining several ideas I have for engaging activities to keep you occupied throughout the summer but that also adhere to social distancing recommendations. 

My Favorite Books by Black Authors

June 19, 2020

It is not enough to dislike racism, you need to work towards antiracism. As I mentioned in my last blog post about the Black Lives Matter movement, this phrase really resonated with me. As a white individual, I and other non people of color need to use our privilege to amplify the voices of the Black community. 

I strongly feel that raising awareness and encouraging education is essential to enacting change. While of course simply acquiring knowledge will never cause change itself, I feel that it provides the foundation upon which to gain the support and momentum needed for taking action. 

This post highlights eight of my favorite books written by Black authors. These are novels that I have read both on my own and in school that have profoundly shaped my perceptions, inspired me to continue to educate myself on issues of social, racial, and gender injustice, and also have simply blown me away by their authentic and beautifully crafted stories. I really hope you read at least one of these incredible books, and please leave any of your own favorites and suggestions in the comments.

Black Lives Matter

June 10, 2020

It has been around two weeks since my last blog post, and so much has occurred within this short period of time. While my last two posts were dedicated to sharing photographs from my travels this year that I did not have the opportunity to share during the busy academic year, I could not possibly resume uploading those travel related posts without addressing the current circumstances.

I am outraged and appalled by the recent injustices that the Black community has faced. The murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and the recent killing of George Floyd are sickening examples of the continued prevalence of discrimination in this country. What is perhaps most horrific is that these violent acts have been occurring for years unnoticed, and that it has been through video recordings and posts on social media that these unjust acts have gained the attention they deserve.

The ability of law enforcement personal to exhibit police brutality and consistently get away with their actions unscathed is emblematic of an even more sinister issue of systemic racism in the United States. The very foundation of the United States was built upon measures that seriously advantaged white, wealthy men, and these systems established by those in power continue to benefit white individuals while disadvantaging people of color. To quote from the website Race Forward, racism is apparent in our lives across institutions and society: Wealth Gap, Employment, Housing Discrimination, Government Surveillance, Incarceration, Drug Arrests, Immigration Arrests, and Infant Mortality.