We’re going into a new year with an old acquaintance. It’s unwanted, uninvited and undeterred. COVID-19 has guaranteed us another rough year. In some ways, 2020 toughened us up for this year but it also sucked up a lot of our energy, resilience and optimism. It’s time for a new game plan in 2022.

COVID-19 seems like our worst enemy right now but its only doing what viruses do. It is trying to stay alive. For it to live, humans become the collateral damage. While the virus is not a living cell, it is a parasitic organism always working to find a living host. And the longer the virus hangs around, the more of its buddies it can summon up. Now we have Delta and Omicron. Who else is waiting around the corner?

Some of us knew before the pandemic’s full impact that Black communities would be disproportionately and negatively affected due to long-standing racial and economic inequities in the U.S. Confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths were higher for Black families and presented a cascading set of circumstances that will take years to recover from. The pandemic is showing us all of its ugly faces.

With all of the challenges we faced, it probably feels like you’ve aged years since COVID-19 struck. Reports confirm this is more than a feeling. The pandemic has shaved nearly two years off the life expectancy for those in the U.S. For Black men, make that three years. It’s heavy and almost too much to deal with some days.

Two big reasons COVID-19 is alive and well this very minute is because of human ignorance and political incompetence. They are nourishing the environment that allows the virus to keep hanging out with us.

A 2020 survey on the pandemic revealed that Black respondents held the least favorable views of how government officials have responded to COVID-19 than their counterparts. It’s hard to have any faith in a government that doesn’t support you in the good times - especially when they won’t even support mask mandates.

We aren’t likely to change the attitudes of a governor who wants to prosecute a city or school official for pushing mask mandates to save lives. We haven’t been able to persuade a mother who was willing to get her baby four or five required immunizations to safeguard them from childhood diseases but balked at the COVID vaccine. We should continue to educate and agitate both those we love and those in positions of authority who make decisions about our lives. Ultimately, we only have control over our own actions and hope that they influence the actions of others.

Black folks must look inward. There’s nobody coming to save us but us. There’s a world that demands our attention. Racism didn’t sit down because of COVID; injustices still abound. Sitting around being frustrated or mad at the world is not going to change this situation. Those of us of relative sound body and mind must find new ways of organizing our neighborhoods towards good health and empowering families to be their own best advocates.

Year three of the pandemic is a reality check. We must prepare ourselves for the long haul. At the rate the pandemic is going, it may be another two years for us to continue vaccinations, incessant handwashing, social distancing and facial masking.

There will be plenty of stress coming our way so get in some deep breathing along with some meditation. Bring positive people around you. Find some joy and happiness each day. You are building up your endurance - for your spiritual and mental health. You can’t rumble with ‘Rona if you’re weak in mind, body and spirit.

A new year must bring new ways of living. Our shields against the virus are information, a healthy lifestyle, and determination. We must be victors, not statistics. Let’s get to living and loving!

BlackCommentator.com Editorial Board member and Columnist, Jamala Rogers, founder and Chair Emeritus of the Organization for Black Struggle in St. Louis. She is an organizer, trainer and speaker. She is the author of The Best of the Way I See It – A Chronicle of Struggle. Other writings by Ms. Rogers can be found on her blog jamalarogers.com. Contact Ms. Rogers and BC.

  Bookmark and Share

Bookmark and Share