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COVID-19 Reminds Us Our Fates Are All Tied Together

DeMaurice Smith
 

By DeMaurice Smith (original source Sports Illustrated)

“This MMQB column is about the legacy of Congressman John Lewis and what he still means for our country. It is also about why sports, those blessed to be a part of them and those who profess to love them, have to decide that they fit within a larger story of a country that has aspired to be great since protestors tossed tea into the Boston Harbor.

We have two stark choices. In the near future, tomorrow, we can emerge stronger and smarter as a country if we decide that we will confront the reality of our history and our present. Or, as some have done, we can collectively cling to a more comfortable alternate reality that allows for an easier and more strident feeling that is consistent with what you do not want to think about or the prejudices that you do not want to talk about openly. Clearly, there are many in power and influence who have made people feel better about doing the latter.

Congressman Lewis, who died on Friday, chose a righteous path before the beating of the Freedom Riders happened, and he therefore had the capacity to both fight and forgive. I am reminded often of his grace when, decades into the future, a member of the KKK apologized to him and others for their violence and hatred. Therein lies the hopeful past, present and future greatness of our country. It is fantasy to ignore division, but there is no escaping responsibility to each other, and he always chose to give us hope. All of us become greater by embracing the reality of a joined fate that we have as Americans.

We are now engaged in a new fight against a virus that confirms how our fates are tied. We have lost nearly 150,000 Americans to a pandemic that is still raging with no end in sight. We can hope for things to come, but we must act to save each other.”

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