SPRINGTIME IN AMERICA
Last week, justice prevailed in a Minnesota court room where disgraced former white cop Derek Chauvin was on trial for the murder of African American George Floyd last May. The jury delivered a guilty verdict on three charges, second degree murder, third degree murder and second degree manslaughter. It was a good day in and for America! The jury had few Blacks. The state awarded Floyd family a $20+ million settlement, usually not a good sign for conviction, when the jury convenes. The nation was on edge awaiting the verdict on Tuesday, April 20. During final days of the trial, almost every state was prepared for a not-guilty verdict, as is the custom when white policemen kill Blacks. Even President Biden went public with his thoughts for a just verdict. Throughout the nation, governors had police and the National Guard ready for mass demonstrations or disruptions, if Chauvin walked. Oftentimes, America is unpredictable and enigmatic, rife with surprises and possibilities. Too many Black people have been killed by police since the 2020 George Floyd tragedy.
During his first address to a joint session of Congress on April 28, President Biden can take a few victory laps for his first 100 days on the job. He is responsible for the American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion COVID relief package which expanded health care, unemployment benefits and school openings. That package was a shot in the arm and a psychic boost for a nation paralyzed for a year by a pandemic. To be sure, Biden will advocate for a sweeping socio/economic vision for America. The US Senate’s one Black Republican Tim Scott emerges as a key bipartisan player in moving the Biden/Democratic agenda forward. He has been working with Democrats Senator Cory Booker and Representative Karen Bass, on police reform legislation. Senator Scott delivered the GOP response to the Biden joint session talk.
COVID UPDATES: The COVID vaccinations are producing the desired effects and there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel. Slowly the restrictions are being lifted and some change in consciousness among many Americans. We are taking to the friendly skies in numbers that were unimaginable this time last year. Schools are opening as are movie houses. Restaurants are open later. Broadway theater will be back this fall. Can “routine” be re-introduced to our daily vocabulary? Don’t stop wearing your face masks, well sorta/kinda, even if you are vaccine double-dosed. The Center for Disease Control, CDC, announced on 4/27 that a mask is not necessary outdoors, if you are in small groups. The Johnson & Johnson one-shot vaccine is back, with CDC approval, after the pause owing to blood clots. Today, the vaccine age eligibility is 16 years young. However, as WHO said at the beginning of this crisis, “We are all in this together.” The pandemic is defeated only when most of the world is vaccinated and herd immunity dominates. The US must share its vaccine surplus with the rest of the world….and to India ASAP.
2020 CENSUS. The United States population is 331,449,281. The last decade witnessed the slowest rate of American population growth since the 1930s. This is attributable to flattened immigration rates and COVID. Blue states like New York and California will lose Congressional seats next year. Democratic Governors Andrew Cuomo (New York) and Gavin Newsom (California) are under attack, one in escalating scandals and the other a victim of a recall effort. Red sunbelt states like Texas, Florida will gain Congressional seats next year, which could influence who rules the House. Census reveals New York’s population is 20,215,751. More people are leaving NY than arriving. More than 31,000 people left Harlem’s eight zip codes (10026, 10027, 10029, 10030, 10031, 10035, 10037, 10039) in 2020, fleeing COVID19, according to a study conducted by CBRE, a commercial real estate services and investment firm.
We have to view the nation through new lens after appraising the Census numbers. Why are people leaving the fun, progressive states like New York and California? Read a few weeks ago about the 8 states with no income tax, Washington, Nevada, Wyoming So Dakota, Texas, Tennessee, Florida, Alaska and New Hampshire. Some states – Colorado, Connecticut, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont and West Virginia – tax Social Security benefits.
FINE ART: The Arts Students League of NY presents CREATING COMMUNITY: Cinque Gallery Artists, on view from May 3 to July 4. This is first introductory survey to focus on Cinque Gallery, the innovative nonprofit artists space dedicated to promoting the achievement of Black artists, from its founding in 1969 to its closure in 2004. Cinque’s founding fathers are fine arts masters Romare Bearden, Ernest Crichlow and Norman Lewis. The Exhibition, organized by guest curator Susan Stedman and fine artist Nanette Carter, will showcase paintings, works on paper, photography, sculpture and archival documents. A catalog is available. In addition to founders’ works, CREATING COMMUNITY will include art by Benny Andrews, Charles Alston, Dawoud Bey, Elizabeth Catlett, Ed Clark, Melvin Edwards, Sam Gilliam, Whitfield Lovell, Otto Neals, Hale Woodruff, Betty Blayton-Taylor, Ray Grist and Tom Feelings, to name a few. Visit theartsstudentsleague.org. Exhibit is going to be big!
ESSAY: Check out the www.theguardian.com essay, “The Invention of Whiteness: The Long History of a Dangerous Idea,” By Robert Baird, which is an interesting read. Writer is well read with good powers of analysis and accuracy. He mistakenly references the DuBois classic as THE SOUL OF WHITE FOLKS. Otherwise, a good investment of time.
Taurus the Bull Birthday shoutout to Cedric the Entertainer, Djimon Hounsou, Janice Jackson, Dwayne Johnson, LIZZO, Dennis Rodman, Sherri Shepherd, Gabourey Sidibe, Queen Elizabeth II, Serena Williams, retired educator Wanda Ballard Wingfield, and Stevie Wonder who plans to leave America and relocate to Ghana.