It’s 2020, Halloween weekend just ended, and Election Day is tomorrow, Tuesday November 3rd. Voting poles have been open for weeks. I voted early. So did many of my friends. Over the past few weeks I have heard numerous recounts from friends and colleagues of crying, some weeping, at the polls. This year has been scarier than any of us could have ever imagined, but it may pale in comparison to what lies ahead. I wanted to spend Halloween listening to fairytales and gentle bedtimes stories, but instead I wandered through the day and most of the night, meandering through the crevices of my mind. In moments of pause, my thoughts would land on imaging what it means to live the past eight-months as the norm of existence.
The escalating deaths and illness due to COVID 19, and brutal callous and divisive politics have played out on the lives and bodies of African-Americans, the larger African Diaspora in and outside the United States, and Black, brown, and indigenous peoples. While the world holds its breath in wait of what will unfold tomorrow and beyond, African-Americans and African Diaspora communities in the United States are laboring to exhale. We know that whatever happens tomorrow, the road ahead will be rough, we will cry, weep, knowing that momentary gains can be turned quickly into losses.
In my opinion it’s been Halloween at the very least since March 2020, and it may continue to be Halloween for sometime to come. With dead bodies piled up, and piling up, like autumn leaves, the dead walk among us hungry for their burial rites, disconcerted in their struggle to find their path to whatever lies beyond.
The abruptness of these endings has made the dead and the living yearn for rites, old rites, the creation of new rites, something to light the way into unknown territories. It’s November 2, 2020, the Eve of Election Day. My colleague, head in hands, declares: “I cannot even think about the unimaginable though it feels so close. I honestly don’t know what I will do, if…”