Poetic Tongues/Fabu
Put On a Mask For the
Love of Others!
Put on a mask.  Wash your hands often.  Stay six feet from people you don’t know.  Do all of these things minimally to stay free from the COVID-19 virus.  This
virus is real with over five million people infected and 162,000 deaths in the United States. Due to federal statistics not matching the state statistics, since the
states register more cases and more deaths, a health crisis has become a political tool. Can I write here and let you know, through my heartfelt words, how
much I want us all to live and live well without contracting this virus?

We live in Wisconsin. Wisconsin has many positives. My favorites are the farmers markets, being surrounded by beautiful lakes and a low rate of crime, when
compared to other mid-size cities. Wisconsin also has a lot of negatives for African Americans. In fact, when looking at all aspects of life, Wisconsin is the
worst state for African Americans to live in, especially when it comes to health. The COVID-19 virus is worse for people with other health problems.
Unfortunately for us, African American lead with health problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes. These two diseases, in particular, make having
the COVID-19 virus worse.

When I am driving in Madison and I see groups of African Americans, particularly men, I don’t see masks on their faces. When I am walking around the lakes
with friends, I see gatherings of African Americans but only a few people with masks on and absolutely no social distancing. Folks are up close and personal
having fun, like my family in Chicago who sent photos of all of them celebrating being together. I’m looking at the smiles which I can see clearly because no
one has on masks. This week a cousin from that gathering went into the hospital with the COVID-19 virus. The interesting fact is that she didn’t want to reveal
that she had the virus. She finally told our Aunt that she tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. Our family needs to know she had it so seriously that she had to
be hospitalized and that everyone she was around needs to be tested and quarantined. Equally as important, we are happy that she survived the virus.

In some parts of the world, there are no masks available, it is difficult to access clean water and due to the way homes are structured, it is impossible to
practice social distancing. In some families, with all of the workers considered essential workers who have jobs that expose them to the COVID-19, they are at
high risk for the virus. For those people who don’t have masks,

Carola Gaines, Badger Care Plus community liaison manager with Quartz, recommends contacting Dane County for free masks for adults and children. There
is an online contact https:.countyofdane.com/ppe/clothmasks or https://www.danecountymaskmakers.om/rquest-masks.html.  Carrie Meier at Meier.
carrie@countyofdane.com can assist with getting these free masks if there are difficulties with the online requests. The African American Health Network is an
organization of health care professionals that is also a good source to contact about COVID-19 and other health care issues.  Let us help take care of each
other by gently asking, “Do you need a mask?” if we see people without one. I’ll carry extra masks in my car and in my purse to be a good neighbor so that we
can all live well.