The Persistent Killer

By Lorrie C. Reed, Ph.D.

It is my fervent prayer that something will be found soon to control COVID-19 and stem the spread of the current pandemic. Most of us will be at ease, no doubt,  after the pandemic has subsided. Unfortunately, some groups will remain vulnerable to other tenacious killers that continue to show themselves strong in our communities of color.

The persistent killer I’m talking about disproportionately compromises the lives of millions of the poorest members of our society each year. This killer shows up in the form of a complex consisting of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and related maladies that shorten the lives and diminish the well-being of Black and Brown populations.

Such diseases proliferate because of discrimination against individuals based on race or gender. This includes the restriction of opportunities for employment, living conditions, nutrition, healthcare, and other manifestations of systemic racism. If it remains unchecked, the disease can lead to death.

Finding a cure for such racism has been an ongoing battle involving those who value fairness, compassion, and justice for all people. Perhaps justice makers should begin to tackle this ubiquitous presence in the same way public agencies have addressed the recently pernicious virus  – one person at a time, one policy at a time, and one practice at a time until the malady known as systemic racism is wiped off the planet for good.

When our society decides finally to become aggressive in this fight, the well-being of affected people will rise, and we will all be able to go outside once again without wearing our social masks for protection.

What is there about a good story?


As writers, we use storytelling to impose a narrative structure on events that might otherwise seem random and meaningless. The craft of writing allows us to take command of a powerful tool for drawing upon our memories, adding new information to old, and, thereby, portraying the world in new contexts. Storytelling helps the mind to make sense of the world.

Beyond that, good stories captivate us as they propose solutions to some of the really tough dilemmas in life. Quite often, through storytelling, we can explore new pathways to hope and encourage each other to look for solutions in unanticipated places. Good stories often lift our spirits and open our minds to new possibilities. Not only that, the act of storytelling helps us get our realities straight. As storytellers, we possess the power to reimagine life as an ageless mosaic and figure out how the pieces fit together from one generation to the next. What’s your story? Are you ready to share it?