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The Bay State Banner
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Only a united front can defeat COVID

Melvin B. Miller
Only a united front can  defeat COVID
“COVID’s been killing off more of us than the Ku Klux Klan.”

When the Bay State Banner was launched in 1965, the motto was “Unity, progress, let’s do it ourselves.” There was this sense that Blacks could not prosper at a significant level from the opportunities created by the new 1964 Civil Rights Act without working together. The motto also suggested that it would be a mistake to rely on the implementation of affirmative action provisions when Blacks could succeed on their own.

Cooperation to confront a common enemy has created a sense of Black unity but the concerted invasion by COVID-19 has greatly damaged the attainment of Black solidarity. According to recent reports the primarily Black neighborhood of Mattapan has the lowest rate of fully vaccinated residents in Boston as recorded from Jan. 2 through June 29, 2021. Only 38.3% Mattapan residents have been fully vaccinated compared to 64.3% for West Roxbury.

Further evidence that Blacks are lagging is that only 42.6% of Blacks in Boston have been fully vaccinated during that same period. The rate for whites is 59.5% and 72.1% for Asians. As the new and more contagious coronavirus delta strain expands, the indications are that those who are vaccinated will usually not become infected. However, an expansion in the number of diseased will create a menace in the area. Those who are too young for vaccination will be at greater risk.

There is no infallible reason for all Blacks to feel united. They certainly are not in parts of Africa. In South Africa Zulus are the dominant tribe and many of them believe that the Xhosas (Mandela’s tribe) as well as white Afrikaners and the English are subordinate to them. Remember the Biafra War from 1967-1970 in Nigeria. That was a battle of Black versus Black.

Aside from the issue of Black unity, it is disappointing that so many Blacks lack the self-esteem and the courage to step forward for the medical treatment with the potential to save their own lives. The reluctance to be vaccinated themselves also demonstrates a lack of concern for their neighbors’ health.

The science is clear. If vaccination does not totally prevent Covid-19 from infecting an individual, the symptoms of the disease will be mild. What kind of people are unwilling to risk a mild case of discomfort rather than the horrid death that more than 600,000 in America have already suffered?

Anyone committed to Black unity would take reasonable action to prevent one’s brothers and sisters from suffering.