With a brilliant display of orange framed in ebony, the Monarch soars into view, fluttering and teasing all bystanders to look on with gaze and imagination. So quick, elusive, and nimble, one may ask, how high will it rise? How long will it last (15 – 29 Days)? It is hard to believe that this precious jewel of the summertime individually lives only a month. It is also hard to believe that the same life that exists in pristine beauty was the lowly, messy mud-dwelling viability of the inauspicious caterpillar.
At the threshold of Autumn, violent weather changes emerge upon the horizon and violent changes in a nation with an unfulfilled destiny. Not Thomas Jeffersons Manifest Destiny, but a destiny of accountability for its own words (All men are created equal.)
The dark caterpillar days striving in the soiled culture of chattel slavery, sharecropping, and Jim Crow, brought about the cycle of terror, sickness, and bloodshed. Between 1910 to 1970, 6 million African Americans left the primarily agrarian homesteads in the south for the more industrialized north in the Great Migration.
Leaving the racist south was thought to bring sanctuary from the hatred. However, vanquished dreams replaced hope, and racism persisted in the north in different forms. Redlining (Racial Residential Segregation) produced declining urban cores. These cores perpetuated generational poverty, gun violence, and unhealthy proximity to industrial air and water pollution. Educational resources were limited. All of this would contribute to what is known as Social Determinants of Health. Racism is real, but biological racial difference is a socially constructed myth. In essence, the Social Determinants of Health did not just happen; American society planned (constructed) it this way.
Veering away from the social constructs of White and Christian Nationalism and their inferred narratives, we can hear the “Christ” inspired scripture speak.
“Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life emerges! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.”
2 Corinthians 5:17-20 The Message
Amidst dark caterpillar days, striving in the soiled times of the Pandemic, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbury, Breonna Taylor, The Buffalo Ten, etc., we must know that a Butterfly Day beckons. No longer tolerating another proverbial Eye of the Storm of September’s Hurricane Season, a momentary pause in the madness; we must deconstruct what society has constructed. This way, we are positioned in a place of strength that will bring everyone through the next dark season.
As African Americans began to migrate in large numbers back to the south, a new and reimagined south comes into view. As northern cities reinvest in their urban cores, let us not allow gentrification to create new 21st-century income inequality-driven redlining.
Systemic Racism has turned Black and Butterflies of color into the short-lived version of the Monarch. Teasing all bystanders to look on with gaze and imagination. So quick, elusive, and nimble, one may ask, how high will it rise as in a 22-foot three-pointer from Steph Curry, or a slam from Lebron in flight, a soring José Ramírez grand slam, Naomi Osaka’s Ace, the stellar tones of Jennifer Hudson, the innovation of Oprah Winfrey, or the “Yes We Can” of President Barack Obama? How long will it last? The answer is not long, with lower than average and declining life spans.
“Monarchs emerging as summer ends, the “super generation”, live 7-8 months; during which they make the epic migration to Mexico, hibernate, breed and head north and lay the eggs for the next generation.” -BarrieToday.Com
This super generation of Monarchs inspires hope for the future, a future where BIPOC communities can experience equity in physical and mental health if we invest in one another across the ethnic divide. Realization comes through education for healthy lifestyles, more Physicians of Color, and more resources, including the Three-Fifths Magazine’s new Health and Wellness Section and Health Care that is more accessible for everyone. The result will be longer and healthier lifespans for these communities of color. In this Reimagined America, we can all survive the Eye of the Storm.
By Kevin Robinson Founder/Editor, Publisher of Three-Fifths Magazine