The other day my husband shared a message he got from the child of one of his patients. It simply read, ‘thank you for saving my dad’s life. You are a hero.’ My husband is a hero to me every single day. The stories he shares, especially the near death ones with some of his patients are simply inspirational. He never toots his own horn. In fact if he reads this post, he may tell me to delete it as he ‘HATES’ accolades. But I wanted to take the time to write briefly about him because he deserves all the praises for what he does every single day. He will never ask for the spotlight. That’s not his nature. He is selfless with the care of his patients and I am in awe always of his dedication to them.

Take for example this past Wednesday he got home around 8pm (he left the house around 7am), took his night shower, ate his dinner and got paged that a patient was arriving at the hospital. After a couple of minutes he logged on to his laptop see what was happening I guess with a brain imaging and then he muttered, I have to go in. It was close to 9:30pm. I loathe every time he has to go in, especially at night because at night he is just a black man driving his car, not a doctor or anything. He left, I prayed Psalm 91 over his life then slept off.

When I work up around 2am to breastfeed baby, he was home sleeping and I was elated. Another peaceful night or so I thought. The next morning he was up around 6:30am getting ready to go back to work and he casually shared he was pulled over on his way home by a police officer and given a ticket for speeding. I said were you speeding, he said yes as he was tired after performing the surgery on his patient and he wanted to get home to sleep. But the kicker for me was that the police officer called another police officer as back up and so there were now two police cars behind his car. He said he placed his hand on the dashboard the entire time and complied with all their instructions. The first police car that pulled him over was driven by a white police officer. The second police car that later joined him was driven by a black police officer. The white police officer stayed behind in his car after speaking to him to run his plate and proceed to write the ticket. But the black police officer who drove the second police car approached his car afterwards and spent sometime talking to him. He was in awe that he was talking to a black surgeon as he shared he is not used to seeing any. He even thanked my husband for what he does to save the lives of his patients and my husband thanked him for what he does on the streets as well. Their exchange was pleasant, stunning and full of humanity because they saw themselves in each other.

When people say black lives matter, it’s because of stories like what my husband shared. What if and it’s a big what if, this night did not end peacefully? What if the second police car was driven by a black police officer? What if I didn’t pray Psalm 91 every night he goes out? It doesn’t matter whether you are a doctor, whether you save lives, whether you do it in the morning or in the middle of the night, none of that matters if you are black. Black Lives Matter, police reform, is forever urgent and it’s something neither I nor you can ignore especially now given this election. It is time for engaged directed action on this issue, not idle wishful speculation. So vote. Vote for black lives. Vote for black lives that save lives. Vote until everyone realizes how black lives matter. Vote until everyone is wakened and alert to all the black lives that matter. Black lives are not gifts to humanity, the exchange between my husband and the black police officer proves this. Black lives are a necessity for humanity. Vote for black lives, it matters and quite frankly saves lives.

Every day, after the Wolf Blitzer show on CNN, he lists the names of Americans who have died as a result of the ongoing pandemic. Yesterday, he shared the story of an African American woman, Patricia Ashley, age 53, a wife for 25 years, mother of three children and a grandmother to 15 grandchildren. She was also a pre-school teacher at a private school who caught Covid-19 after returning back to work. Today she is dead. One in 1,000 African Americans have died from the pandemic. If nothing changes from now until the end of 2020, the number will increase to 1 in 500. I am an African America woman. Something has to change!

Patricia Ashely, aged 53 and died of Covid-19.

The debate last night was a disgrace. We have over 206,000 dead Americans, over 7 million have become infected and there is no solution in sight. For the past 6 months, we have watched as our lives essentially shut down. Our schools, our churches, where we eat, where our children play, everything is closed. The debates were supposed to reassure us that someone has a plan to change or turn things around. We have all waited for the current leadership to do something. Nothing has changed. We watched as our lives went into flux in March hopeful that by the start of the new school year, normalcy may return. Nothing has changed. We have heard testing may have increased, tracing maybe underway and those who test positive may be isolating themselves. Nothing has changed. We have been told to wear masks, social distance, wash your hands and keep your personal hygiene in order. Nothing has changed. We have now watched as business opened, schools opened, places of worship opened. Yet the pandemic remains and nothing has changed.

I am married to an essential worker and I remember the months of March and April when he isolated himself, took of his clothes in the garage before he came into the house, didn’t hug his children until he took his shower, walked around with a mask and slept in the basement. The summer months became bearable and he stopped isolating himself. We brought in a baby to the world and became hopeful that something will change. On Sunday for the first time in a long time, after he returned from work, after he took his clothes off and showered and before hugging his kids, he wore a mask. I froze. He felt sick. Headaches, pain, fever. I felt sick. He went to work the next day and asked for a test. It took nearly 4 hours to get tested at the hospital where he works. He did not come home that night. His results were not ready. He slept in his hospital office. So we waited and waited. Waiting for the results lead to more anxiety. What if he tests positive? What if he has exposed the virus to his family, his new 2 month old infant? Waiting for the results made us all sick. Almost 30 hours later, the results came back negative. He returned to work. Thirty-six hours later, he came home and showered.

My husband still working despite being sick.

Like many essential workers with families, our number 1 issue this election is the pandemic. We have been homeschooling our children since March. We have done our best to wear masks all the time, wash our hands and practice social distance. Our kids want to go to the closed planetarium and to the park. I want them to return to school. Something has to change. That’s all. That’s all I am asking for. Something fundamentally has to change and that is all I am voting for. The very serious function of governments is to provide calm and peace and assurance, not anxiety or chaos. The debate last night was chaotic. But like many families of essential workers, I will keep seeking for change until the pandemic ends. That’s our only issue this election. Change!