Blog by Associate Colette Parker

I have been trying to remain optimistic during this pandemic.

But this past week, I have struggled to maintain a positive outlook.

Many things have contributed to my strife – the politicization of the health crisis; the delayed delivery of the $8 billion in direct emergency relief from the CARES Act to Native nations, which are among the hardest hit by COVID-19; families unable to keep food on their tables and a roof over their heads; and the armed militia that stormed the statehouse in Michigan to “protest” against the governor’s COVID-19 stay-at-home order (even though nearly 80 percent of Michiganders support continuing the stay-at-home order) .

These militia people, once again, highlighted the fact that different Americans have different First Amendment rights – I will not state the obvious about the outcome of this scenario, if the people in the armed mob had more melanin in their skin.

From my vantage point, it is clear that no stay-at-home order was keeping any of these people at home. These are the same people who claim “Blue Lives Matter”, yet yell (unmasked) directly into the faces of masked law enforcement officers. There actions and rhetoric indicate that “No Lives Matter.”

Downplaying the lethal impact of the virus with messages like “Freedom isn’t free” and “I want my job back” these people apparently had the freedom to show up at the statehouse and ignore the CDC’s recommendations to cover your face and maintain physical distancing. They also had the freedom to defy logic (at last count, there were nearly 70,000 deaths in the United States and nearly a quarter million worldwide and the United States had nearly 1.2 million of the 3.5 million confirmed cases worldwide).

This “protest” was clearly about power, plain and simple. This was not a peaceful demonstration. It was about intimidation – for what other reason would “protesters” need to wear body armor and carry assault rifles?

I want to know if Americans of good will – particularly, my brothers and sisters with less melanin — are going to allow this small group of (gun-toting, “the government is not going to tell me what to do”) people to have the last say?

My hope is that the majority will not be silent and will operate out of an understanding that “law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose, they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress” (the words of Martin Luther King Jr.).

And to those who are dividing us into two pandemic camps – one that sees COVID-19 as a health crisis and one that sees it as an economic crisis – I say it is BOTH … AND (lest we forget that many Americans were in economic crisis before the coronavirus, most because of economic injustices).

Any plan to move forward MUST protect us from health risks and provide Americans with the economic means to survive without hardship.

These are trying times, but we are stronger together.

(Oh, don’t worry about my struggle to remain positive, I’m a resilient optimist– I bend but don’t break and use adversity/strife as a compass. I believe adversity can guide us to our vision, our voice, our calling, if we learn to suffer well).

Posted in Associate Blog, News


  1. Just read your blog and the 20 comments of others. You have voiced what many of us feel and I thank you for putting your wisdom into the words that you have shared with us.

  2. Colette, thank you for your insight. We need hope. I have been in the hospital and seen the courage of the workers. So many people everwhere doing good.

  3. Thank you for being a resilient optimist, Colette, and for sharing it with us in the context of the sometimes harsh truth we see displayed in our daily news.
    Blessings to you.
    Amy OP

  4. I could not agree more with you, Colette. Thank you ffor saying it so clearly. I would only add that this blatant display of violent power in a few states is not accidental or random. I believe it is the insidious work of those determined to make clear that this is what will happen, in exponentially larger numbers, if you do not elect “our guy” in November. The pro-gun lobby has a lot to answer for when the future unfolds.

  5. I liked your blog, Colette. I too was upset by the gun toting people in Michigan. We have to keep our hope alive and look forward to better days.

  6. Yeah!! Colette, I agree thought about that last night that folks with little more pigmentation would have been shot for storming in the state house.

  7. Thank you Colette. I know your optimism will bounce back, but keep that fire burning. You’re not alone, and truth will win!

  8. These are words my heart and spirit are expressing but my tongue could not find. Thank you Collette for your orientation of logic and love and encouragement. ☮️

  9. Thanks, Colette. How can we stop the minority armed militia from taking over state houses and so many news alerts? I do hope our prayers can help because we can’t really go to where they are and counter protest. I have to work to stay positive these days even though that’s my normal inclination. I count on God to help me and all of us. Maybe it’s time to stop watching the news.

  10. Collette,
    Once again I thank you for your high, deep and enduring values , and the clarity with which you express them…No, I’m not worried about your struggle to stay positive… when reading this, and your other blogs, my feeling is not worry but always gratitude..
    Peace, Kay

  11. Dear Colette,
    Thank you for your challenging and honest blog. You raise important and basic concerns. Thank you for reminding us too that we are stronger together.

  12. That event of intimidation terrified me. Why weren’t they stopped, or arrested after? If they weren’t stopped this time, what will they be allowed to do next time? I’m with you, Colette.

  13. Thank you, Colette. COVID-19 has stripped away the facade from the racism, the inequality and the poverty and revealed an ugliness that, as you say, is primarily about raw personal power. I hope and pray that all of us can learn from this time, and will stand up and speak up at every opportunity.

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