This is the update for Friday, May 29, 2020.
Madison County update
Because of the Memorial Day holiday the county emergency planning group has not met since last Friday. There have been 10 new cases reported in the county in the last week, for a total now of 53. Three new cases were reported just in the last day. One person is hospitalized.
The schools in the county are reporting that plans have been developed for the resumption of some summer extra-curricular activities, including athletics. The cities of Berea and Richmond are announcing that their City Halls are re-opening following the Healthy at Work guidelines, which means service by appointment only.
Gov. Beshear discussed the protest last evening in Louisville. He read a statement from Breonna Taylor’s mother calling for justice and change, but also asking that there not be further violence in Breonna’s name. Gov. Beshear also pledged again to work to address the long-standing racial health disparities that have emerged again in the current pandemic.
The numbers he announced were up quite a lot. 283 new positive cases, which may reflect a surge from the opening that has begun, but it may also be an artifact of when labs reported because of the Memorial Day holiday. The total is now 9464 with 9 new deaths for a total of 418.
This week, our nation has been roiled yet again by the videotaped killing on an unarmed African American man: George Floyd. In our own beloved Kentucky, protestors are marching for justice for Breonna Taylor, an African American woman shot in her own home by the police. Even in the midst of a pandemic, people of color remain targets, often with little recourse. Christian Cooper was bird watching in Central Park this past weekend, and asked a young woman to put her dog on a leash, which was required in that park. Instead, she told him that she was going to “call the police and tell them that an African American man was threatening her and her dog.” The message was clear—Mr. Cooper would be perceived by the police as a threat to her, and would, subsequently, be punished.
In 1857, the United States Supreme Court made a decision that, it seems, follows to this day. After an enslaved man, Dred Scott, sued for his freedom after being taken by his “owner” into what was then a “free” territory, the court wrote that “They had for more than a century before been regarded as beings of an inferior order…: and so far inferior, that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect:…” (Dred Scott, 60 U.S.at 407). Today, we stand as a nation stand at a moment when we must decide if the language of the Dred Scott Decision will guide our future, or the language of The Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all (men) peoples are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness…” Here at Berea College, we have long stood on the side of justice, and today, we remain steadfast, holding to the motto of our Founder, the great Abolitionist Reverend John G. Fee, taken from Acts: 17:26, “God has made of One Blood All Peoples of the Earth.” Berea College remains steadfast in its support of all marginalized communities and peoples, and we ask that all Bereans remember these individuals—that we remember their names and their stories. That we never forget that we are, indeed, one blood.
Lyle Roelofs, President
Linda Strong-Leek, Provost
Channell Barbour, Vice President for Student Life
Stay safe, stay healthy, everyone
Lyle Roelofs, President