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As masks come off in Philly there’s reason for hope

These days there’s a lot to talk about in Philly. In the face of a gun violence crisis that’s killing Black men in droves, City Council voted to ban dirt bikes, the state legislature is trying to bring back voter suppression, and while the little guy gets harassed for every penny, big businesses don’t pay their fair share in taxes. In the shadow of this week’s high school graduations there are those who will never finish, but not to worry. While the educational system pushed them to drop out, the prison system invites them to drop in.

But while all of that is true, there’s reason for hope. Because this last year of COVID—a year that saw nearly 600,000 Americans die–is starting to give way to something better. Businesses are reopening. People are going to work. And today in Philadelphia, the masks are coming off.

After a year of looking at each other and not knowing what we were thinking or how we were feeling, we’ll finally be able to see each other smile. We’ll finally be able to hear each other clearly. We’ll finally be able to hold each other up. Because the truth is, we’ve lost a lot over the course of this year. We’ve lost people, and money, and some of us have lost ourselves.

But we’ve gained something too. We’ve gained the understanding that we can stand up to tragedy, that we can make it through adversity, that we can find the light while stumbling in the darkness.

We are stronger than we were this time last year, because we’ve struggled through loss, and made it to the other side. So whether you take your mask off or not, smile today. Hope today. Dream today. Because if you’ve made it through this year and you’re still here, it could be that the best is yet to come.

Photo: Health Partners Foundation and the Black Doctors COVID Consortium By. Governor Tom Wolf

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