August 27, 2021
Greetings, Dear Friends,
To say that portions of 2020 and 2021 have been years unlike any others would be quite an understatement. We’ve seen pandemics, social justice movements, natural disasters, celebrity deaths, an insurrection at the United States Capitol and so much more.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic triggered a historic downturn that has only exacerbated some of the issues facing the Black community. The number of Black-owned businesses decreased by 41% from February to April of 2020, compared with a 17% percent drop among white-owned businesses.* The Black Lives Matter movement has brought issues such as systematic racism, health care, affordable housing, police brutality, and social inequity to the forefront once again. Issues such as wars, food insecurity, poverty, and climate change are more important than ever. Some of the most pressing social issues Americans of color face today are:
Voting Rights - Election officials’ responses to the COVID-19 outbreak severely hampered some people’s ability to vote in primary elections, but access improved by the November general election. While laws expanding voting rights for former felons were passed in Virginia, a federal appeals court in Florida determined that people with criminal convictions must pay fines before they may vote.
Health Care - Social justice and healthcare are heavily linked. An important aspect of social justice is the ability to have fair access to healthcare. However, healthcare in 2021 in the US remains a controversial subject despite the passing of the Affordable Care Act of 2010.
Climate Change - The effects of climate change can be seen all over the world. From the bushfires in California and Australia to the acceleration in the speed at which polar ice caps are melting, the threat that climate change poses to humanity is more evident than ever before. Climate change, however, can bring with it social challenges as well. It can put a strain on natural and economic resources and harm the overall well-being of all humanity.
Racial Injustice - In America, racial injustice is a problem as old as the country itself. Perhaps, even older. Its impact can be found in education, business, media, and daily life. The ongoing protests and riots are a testament to the severity of the problems faced by minorities in America. It has had long-term mental, physical, social, political, and economic consequences for African Americans and others that have been subjected to discrimination and ethnic unfairness. The Covid-19 epidemic disproportionately affected racial and ethnic minorities, particularly Black, Latina, Asians, and Native American communities.
Gun Violence - Many consider gun violence to be a public health crisis. However, its impact can be felt across all aspects of life in the USA. While the right to bear arms is protected by the Constitution, there have been many laws proposed with the intention to curb gun violence.
LGBTQ+ - Great strides have been made in terms of LGBTQ+ rights. Members of the LGBTQ+ community are still frequent victims of discrimination, harassment, and violence. They are often unable to enjoy fair access to the same educational, healthcare, economic, political, and other opportunities.
As the President of this great Branch of the NAACP, I remain steadfast in fulfilling our mission, and will continue to encourage others to promote and stand for justice and equity for all people of color. These times in which we live affect all of us, and we must make sacrifices that have not been common in our day-to-day lives before. I pray that all nations will live in peace as we continue to address today’s challenges, and "May God Bless America”.
Dr. Ellsworth L. B. Weaver, Sr., President
NAACP Fauquier County Branch #7059-B
The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is to secure the political, educational, social and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons.
*CBS News - Feb. 9, 2021