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By Dee Dixon

In all transparency, the coronavirus and the ruthless murder of George Floyd by the police shook me to the core. Initially, I couldn’t see how these two catastrophes were linked.  I wasn’t so much afraid of the virus itself, but selfishly, more so afraid of how it would upend my lifestyle–no church, no travel or shopping, unless it was to find toilet paper. My greatest fear was for the survival of my business.  Sheltering in place was the absolute pits at first, and my mind hit rock bottom a time or two, before I could see the light.  I cried out to God and he steadied me.   As a result, I gained empathy for those suffering physically from COVID-19 and saw clearly that the suffering and disproportionate deaths of African Americans during this pandemic didn’t just show up.  Black people have been suffering and dying from societal diseases faster than any other ethnic group for ages. This needs to change.

Now, the brutal murder of George Floyd chilled my soul.  Why is this happening AGAIN? My mind immediately flashed back to the time when one of my sons and his friend, then teenagers, were pulled over by the police, thrown up against the car with one pointing a gun at his friend’s head.  After finding out a mistake had been made, they gruffly told them they could go, without one ounce of apology.   Of course, I spent a lot of time on the phone, demanding an apology for these young boys and even vented my anger on the evening news.  They never got that apology.  Obviously, this in no way compares to the anguish and suffering black families endure when their loved ones are senselessly killed by the police.  It does, however, allow me to have empathy for them.  Let the protests continue until real reform is achieved.

I believe these two back-to-back horrors are not coincidental, but allowed by the Almighty to clearly bring systemic racial inequities to the forefront. At the same time, opportunities for society to do the right thing are clearly exposed. There’s a lot of talk about change from corporate America on down.  While this sounds good, it’s not what you say, it’s what you do.  One thing is certain – Black History came early this year, like never before.

Let’s Support Small Businesses

I mentioned early on that my greatest fear was the survival of my business.  It still is and I am not alone.  Small businesses, especially minority –owned businesses have suffered greatly due to the pandemic.  That is why we intentionally created this July issue to be a resource for recovery.

Pride Magazine and its related events and other products have existed primarily to showcase black achievement and to lift the African American community up.  We’ve had some success, but truth be told, it’s never been easy.   You can help us keep this voice alive by advertising in the magazine, sponsoring our events, contracting with us for PR services, partnering with our nonprofit – PEEP, or by volunteering your expertise in a variety of areas, such as technical support.  Call me: 704-375-9553.

We would appreciate it.