‘WE ARE OUR BROTHER’S KEEPER’ – Courier encourages Pittsburgh’s African American community to stay home, practice social distancing, and ‘mask up’

Courier encourages community to stay home, practice social distancing and ‘mask up’— We determine our own fate

by Rob Taylor Jr., Courier Staff Writer

Just for a moment, focus exclusively on the Pittsburgh-area community. Focus exclusively on your immediate family, friends, relatives, co-workers and associates.

Yes, the coronavirus pandemic is affecting every part of the country, but here in Pittsburgh, Allegheny County and the surrounding counties, we have a chance to, in many ways, determine our own fate.

The more each of us practice social distancing, the more each of us wear masks, the more each of us take care of our elderly relatives by not even risking exposing them to coronavirus, the less this virus can spread and cause devastation in our community.

We love to congregate at the August Wilson African American Cultural Center, Denise and Earl’s, Savoy, or at a Downtown hotel ballroom for a gala event such as the annual NAACP Human Rights Dinner…

We love to hit up the malls to get the latest clothing from “Sneaker” Villa, or Macy’s…we love to hug our brothers and sisters who we haven’t seen in a while…we love to have get-togethers at the house, sometimes 10, 15 people strong…

As we all know, the church is such a vital part of our community. And even our churches have said, “Don’t come to the actual church location, but join us for services virtually, or online.”

When it comes to coronavirus, we must continue to “Take This Virus Seriously,” as the Courier has dubbed for the past weeks. And a Courier continuous analysis of city neighborhoods and municipalities shows that the vast majority of African Americans across the county are adhering to the “Stay-at-Home” order issued by Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf, backed by city officials. And if you’ve had to leave the home, the Courier has witnessed many African Americans wearing masks or some sort of face and nose protection.

You are, in fact, “Taking This Virus Seriously,” and you are to be commended.

No matter what’s happening in other cities, each person here, no matter the race, has an obligation to take care of each other. But specifically to the African American community, various reports have shown that due to underlying health conditions that many of us have in our communities, we can be more susceptible to having dire complications from COVID-19. It’s already been well-documented in minority communities in New York City, New Orleans, Detroit, Chicago and Milwaukee.

But you have already shown that you will do whatever it takes to keep this virus from spreading and causing irreparable harm. This attitude and mindset must be continued.

Continue to stay home, and if you have to leave your home, practice social distancing by staying at least six feet away from the next person. “Mask up,” and wash your hands continuously.

Eventually, everything will get back to normal. We’ll have the big concerts at the Petersen Events Center and PPG Paints Arena. We’ll get all dressed up for a gala affair at the Wyndham or Westin. We’ll enjoy a night out on the South Side, the Strip District, Homewood or the North Side. We’ll meet up at the Hill District Carnegie Library for important meetings, and the neighboring Thelma Lovette YMCA to get our workout on. We’ll get back into our physical church locations. We’ll have exciting birthday parties for the kids and invite all their friends. This too shall pass. But right now, let’s continue to do all we can to save our brother.

(ABOUT THE TOP PHOTO: REV. GLENN GRAYSON SR., pastor of Wesley Center AME Zion Church in the Hill District, passes out a palm and communion to an individual along Centre Avenue on Palm Sunday, April 5. It was a way for people to receive communion and palms in a safe manner during the coronavirus pandemic. See the Courier’s exclusive story on Page A3. – Photo by J.L. Martello)

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