In fight against COVID-19, house party is a slap in the face
While doctors and nurses are working overtime to save lives, young revelers over the weekend put their own community, not to mention their families, in grave danger.
There’s no point in trying to shame the young people that took part in a crowded throw-down over the weekend.
It wouldn’t do much good.
But this incident shows how disconnected this demographic is from the rest of the city.
The house party, which allegedly took place in the Galewood community on the West Side, was captured on video and posted on the TMZ website.
But the blatant disregard of the state’s stay-at-home order is more than an embarrassing moment. It is a slap in the face of a black mayor who is desperately trying to enforce social distancing without criminalizing normal behavior.
It also shows the city’s hands are pretty much tied.
There’s enough bad blood between the Chicago Police Department and young black men in poor communities that any attempt to lock up people for disobeying social distancing would be met with vehement resistance.
“Reckless and irresponsible” is how Mayor Lightfoot described the video showing young people “cheek to jowl” at a house party.
“They put themselves at risk, and they put every single person around them at risk. That’s why for me that scene is so distressing,” Lightfoot said in response to a question at her daily press briefing.
But as infuriating as it is to see these young African Americans acting like they are immune to a disease that has brought the world to a standstill, the mayor and the governor — or, for that matter, the police superintendent — can save their collective breath because these young folks aren’t listening to them.
Warm weather is coming. If it isn’t a house party, it will be a backyard barbecue or block party that brings out young people despite the stay-at-home order.
While the mayor’s PSAs, Zoom concerts and nightly news of heroes and survivors are uplifting, they aren’t the right messages for a generation that needs to play a big role in helping us survive.
They need to hear from the young brothers that led protests against the Chicago Police Department after the Laquan McDonald tape was released. After all, their advocacy changed Chicago’s political landscape.
They need to hear from the sisters that stood toe to toe in the face of danger when warring gang factions threatened the lives of children in their South Side neighborhood.
They need to hear from the black celebrities, athletic stars and rappers who aren’t risking their lives or the lives of their loved ones by violating social distancing orders.
They need to hear from the pastors who have been successful in bringing millennials into the flock.
Don’t get me wrong.
It is wonderful that many of these people are already donating their money and their talents to feed struggling families, but right now, youth like those partying in the video need a moral wake-up call.
Data show African Americans and Latinx are the groups most likely to die from this virus because of underlying conditions.
If young black and brown people don’t take precautions to protect themselves, the death toll in black and brown households will be staggering.
It is indeed disappointing that while these young people were partying, an army of exhausted nurses and doctors were trying to save lives.
Worse yet, the video of the house party played into the negative stereotypes about black youths.
Although a lot of effort will likely be spent trying to make sure that someone will be held accountable for the gathering, that isn’t my greatest concern.
Only people who don’t think they have a future would laugh in the face of a virus that has killed as many people as the coronavirus.
It is also distressing to know that this disrespect for authority is likely to result in someone’s untimely death.
We need young black activists to stand up and show their peers that there is a future worth fighting for.
It is your turn.
Help us save our community from the suffering that awaits us if the virus finds a welcome mat at our door.