I am a caregiver to a wounded warrior who sacrificed his safety and health for Americans’ freedoms. I have sacrificed, as well. My husband returned from Afghanistan severely wounded ten years ago. As my husband’s caregiver, and since his return, I resigned from a ten-year teaching career. Uncertain about the future, I relocated with him three times post-injury, and like so many other military families, sacrificed so much more. Together we continue to face constant struggles in our life after his combat and injury. My husband genuinely believed in helping preserve the country’s safety and ideals and felt much pride in his service. He still does, and, despite our ongoing challenges, we remain steadfast in our support of the foundations of the United States of America.

The years since his return from combat have indeed brought us both moments of great despair as well as hope. But the principles for which he fought have always felt nearly sacred, and invincible to us. I have walked alongside him these years as many people of all backgrounds and pigmentation— White, Brown, Black — have come together as a community to help my family move forward. Our military and professional communities have been a real rainbow of diversity and inclusion, and we have been grateful for every friend, organization, and community that has helped us.

African American Couple

Despite generations of being discriminated against, African Americans and other non-White individuals have fought hard, sacrificed, and striven to break from the bonds of slavery and prejudice. We have managed to succeed in prestigious positions, have held the highest positions in the country, and have made extraordinary achievements. Our accomplishments have usually come at a huge cost, but millions of us have persisted and succeeded. The truth is, we are all better together. When we embrace our differences, it can only make us stronger.

 

First Lady Michelle Obama participates in a photo line prior to the Opening Ceremonies of the 2016 Invictus Games at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida, May 8, 2016.

One should never measure the worth of any human being and determine their “success” by what any society deems “success” merely in professional terms; people of all ethnicities, races, and backgrounds are rich, poor, successful, and less so. But today, both Brown and Black populations still face horrific racism that takes innocent lives. It is unconscionable. Our young men are dying. Our women are dying. Still dying.

And if we do survive, we nonetheless still suffer constant indignities not faced by the majority population. One out of many examples recently of the lack of respect that has been afforded African Americans was an incident in which State Sen. Steve Huffman referred to African Americans as the “colored population.” He stated that a possible reason for African Americans being impacted by the Covid-19 virus was that they “do not wash their hands as well as other groups.” This comment, made on June 9, 2020, publicly during a hearing of the Ohio Senate of the General Assembly, was deplorable for its ignorance, lack of humanity, and blatant racism. If this is a comment by an elected official, one can only be terrified to think of what is said in private, behind closed doors.

There is no superior race; we are all human and were created as equal by God. We are equal under the law and the US Constitution. No one individual or race is better than the other. Yet, discrimination on the basis of race has persisted since the beginning of this country.

AFTERWORD:

I have thought long and hard about the use of terminology, naming, and categorizing, mainly since it is often both descriptive and political. And, while such matters often come down to personal preference, I feel strongly that people NOT USE THE WORD “COLOR” TO REFER TO ME AT ALL! I do not want to be referred to as a “woman of color” or a “person of color.” It reminds me too much of the older, demeaning term, “colored person.” My ancestors were from Africa, and I prefer to be referred to as an AFRICAN AMERICAN!

I am wondering how my readership feels about this issue. What is your opinion? I’ll discuss this sometimes very complicated issue in a future blog and would love to hear your opinions!

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