Dear Uzima Family,
It’s Dr. K with a long sigh…waiting to exhale. Some of us are old enough to remember the movie based on the number one book by author Terry McMillian. It was a love story capturing Black life and love. If you have been following the Uzima Health and Wellness magazine, I have been devoted to capturing “us” as we live through this pandemic with all our other ailments. We are leaving 2021, with a long collective sigh.
Before the pandemic, I would go to yoga and the teacher would always say do not forget to breathe. If you can control the breath you can get through the movement. It sounded so good and reassuring in class. But life had me twisted around with despair and sadness with the loss of my brother this year that I could not find the air to breath let alone control it. I am not alone as so many of my friends have lost mothers, fathers, siblings and kinfolk. The media talks about COVID-19 but many of us are dealing with the pandemic of depression and oppression. When will it end?
I want to share with all of you my best gift ever. It was a note. I was packing up and moving from Atlanta, Georgia to San Antonio, Texas for medical school. A sweet woman, the mother of the dorms, said, “wait, I have something for you.” She took a piece of post-it and handed it to me. It said, “Keep a prayer on your lips and a song in your heart.” As I read the paper and stuck it to my wallet, she laid a finger on my forehead and prayed for me. It was a simple act of kindness and love. Family, as we listen to the news cycle from Ahmad’s court case to the COVID-19 variants, we must remember it is the simple things in life that matter the most. We have the ability to practice humanity towards one another.
COVID-19 has dropped the life expectancy of all Americans for the year 2019 to 2021 to levels seen only during WWII. The group expected to be most affected by this shortened life-span due to the pandemic is African Americans. It is critical that we concentrate on how to breathe life back into our lives, our families and our communities. This project gives me life and it is my sincere hope that it gives it back to you.