Let’s Celebrate Our Good Earth and Increased Vaccinations

Today is an occasion for celebration—I don’t need an excuse other than being alive—but as I offer three reasons why, I hope you will join me. First, more than 200 million people have been vaccinated, the George Floyd trial has ended, and Earth Day gently reminded us to pay attention to how we’re living.

COVID is still a threat to families and communities, and if we’re paying attention, people are still getting deathly ill and dying from something we thought would’ve been gone months ago. My family is vaccinated but we’re wearing masks, socially distancing, hand washing like there’s no tomorrow, and staying away from large gatherings to lessen our exposure.

I am amazed that some folks still believe the pandemic is a media and government-generated hoax. Are there really deranged people out there who could concoct something this devastating and widespread just to prove it can be done? I doubt it but while members of my family are still hospitalized from it, I will keep campaigning for vaccinations.

Second, after Tuesday’s guilty verdict in the George Floyd case I expected a sense of relief, a feeling that justice had been served, that the Floyd family could begin to heal. That didn’t happen. As dozens of cities braced for the verdict, I prayed that whatever happened wouldn’t lead to more rioting, looting, burning, and violence because that seems to be the end result when “justice” isn’t what happens at the end of high-profile cases.

Officer Derek Chauvin made poor choices that fateful day and while “seeing is believing,” trials don’t always yield the outcomes we expect. One of the news reports I read from the decades-old Rodney King trial talked about how jurors have a difficult job deciding between what they believe is the right outcome and the one that is expected. King, the African American motorist who was savagely beaten by the police 30 years ago, survived and the police officers who were caught on video beating him, were found not guilty. The verdict prompted disbelief and more unrest.

While most people believe that justice was served in this case, it is not the end all, be all that will fix our policing-justice-community chaos. No single trial can. Diversity training, while a good first step, can’t.

I’d love to wave a magic wand and make every police officer like Officer Friendly and every girl and boy like Ted, Sally, and Boots their pet from my grade school reader, but that’s not the solution either. I’d turn every citizen into a neighborhood watch captain and happily watch crimes disappear, but we can’t so we must keep working toward solutions and looking for a more excellent way to live together in harmony. I won’t stop until we get there.

Finally, rowing up on a farm and reading Pearl S. Buck’s award-winning novel, The Good Earth, always reminds me that this beautiful, life-giving earth is a sacred gift we’ve been entrusted with. As we celebrate Earth Day 2021, stop, smell the roses, and plant a few. Let’s plant trees, take better care of our rivers and streams, and keep them clean and healthy for the generations to come. Let’s conserve, recycle, reuse, and repurpose—yes, I hear my mother every time I reuse the foil and pickle jars–and find more energy-efficient ways to get around.

Climate change is real, and extreme weather and intense storms gently remind us that what we do every day makes a difference. The difference. Together we can keep our earth livable and wonderful, and like the Nike commercial, let’s “Just do it!”

Looking for inspiration, empowerment, uplift, straight talk, an encouraging word to brighten your day? You’ve arrived! Meet Dr. Cynthia Ann Bond Hopson, best-selling author, educator, inspirational speaker, sistergirl–she’s all that and more. Now listen to her new podcast, “Three Stores, Two Cotton Gins, One Remarkable Life: The Journey from There To Here,” and meet her favorite family and friends as they share laughter and heartwarming life lessons. Look for it on this page or wherever you get your favorite podcasts.

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