There is no point in trying to shame the young people who took part in a crowded battle this weekend.
It wouldn’t do much good.
But this incident shows just how disconnected this demographic is from the rest of the city.
The house party, believed to have taken place in the West Side community of Galewood, was filmed and posted on TMZ’s website.
But the blatant disregard for the state’s stay-at-home order is more than an embarrassing moment. It’s a slap in the face of a black mayor who is desperately trying to enforce social distancing without criminalizing normal behavior.
It also shows that the city’s hands are pretty much tied.
There is enough disagreement between the Chicago Police Department and young black men from poor communities that any attempt to lock up people for disobeying social distancing is met with vehement resistance.
“Reckless and irresponsible” is how Mayor Lightfoot described the video of young people “cheeking” at a house party.
“They put themselves in danger, and they endanger everyone around them. That’s why for me this scene is so painful, ”Lightfoot said in response to a question during his daily press briefing.
But as maddening as it is to see these young African Americans acting as if they are immune to a disease that has crippled the world, the mayor and governor – or, for that matter, the police commissioner – can save their breath. collective because these young people do not listen to them.
Hot weather is coming. If it is not a house party, it will be a backyard barbecue or a block party that will bring the young people out despite being ordered to stay home.
So what ?
While the Mayor’s PSAs, Zoom concerts, and nightly news from heroes and survivors are uplifting, they are not the right messages for a generation that must play a big role in helping us survive.
They need to hear from the younger brothers who led protests against the Chicago Police Department after the Laquan McDonald tape aired. After all, their advocacy changed the political landscape of Chicago.
They need to hear from the sisters who clashed in the face of danger when warring gang factions threatened the lives of children in their South Side neighborhood.
They need to hear from black celebrities, sports stars and rappers who aren’t risking their lives or those 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.
Do not mistake yourself.
It’s wonderful that many of these people are already donating their money and talents to feed struggling families, but right now young people like the ones celebrating in the video are in need of a moral wake-up call.
Data shows that African Americans and Latinxes are the groups most likely to die from this virus due to underlying conditions.
If black and brown youth do not 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, the video of the house party played into negative stereotypes about black youth.
While a lot of effort is probably spent trying to make sure someone is held accountable for the gathering, that’s not my biggest concern.
Only people who don’t think they have a future would laugh at a virus that has killed as many people as the coronavirus.
It is also heartbreaking 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’s your turn.
Help us save our community from the suffering that awaits us if the virus finds a welcome mat on our doorstep.