Daily COVID-19 Update: June 18, 2020

Dear Bereans,

This is the update for Thursday, June 18, 2020.

After a number of briefer updates, this one is nearly bursting with important items.  Begging your indulgence, I ask you to read them all and reward yourself at the very end with an amazing vocal performance by Dr. Kathy Bullock.

Kentucky update

Kentucky is reporting 202 new cases today and 2 new deaths.  The gradual downward trends are continuing but still very slowly.  The ratio of positive tests is increasing, meaning we should be doing more testing.   Madison County reported five new cases today (for an overall total of 97).

Statement regarding the wonderful news today from the United State Supreme Court

We are heartened by the Supreme Court’s decision today regarding the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. At a time when our students and many others in our community are experiencing heightened anxiety about their future, we welcome this news. Berea College is home to a number of DACA students who excel in their studies and participate in our essential work program. Berea will continue to support them as they pursue their higher education dreams and make plans for a bright future that would not be attainable without the DACA program. We look forward to that day when Congress finds a permanent solution for all Dreamers.

In honor of Juneteenth tomorrow

Here is the statement read by Union General Gordon Granger on June 19, 1865 in Galveston, Texas.

“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer.”

Gen. Granger’s statement was based on President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which took effect more than two years earlier on January 1st, 1863.  However, it had not been possible to enforce the proclamation in the slave states of the Confederacy until the end of the Civil War.

Cause for celebration and commemoration indeed!

Important Announcement concerning the Poor People’s Campaign event planned for this weekend

Dear Fellow Bereans,

The year 2020 has certainly been quite the precarious year, not only has systemic racism continued to oppress people of color directly and white people indirectly, but we also find ourselves amidst a pandemic under a world system that marginalizes a great deal of the globe. Protests are happening across the country because of the injustices of racial violence and at times it seems change is impossible. However, we are firm believers that a better world is coming despite the uncertainty our world is in now.

There is a movement in this nation called The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, that hopes to achieve that very change our country needs. It not only aims to combat the evils of systemic racism, it also strives to combat poverty, ecological destruction, militarism and the war economy, and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism. This movement, which we fully support, is named after the movement Dr. King was organizing when he was assassinated. We also believe that this movement aligns with Berea College’s Eight Great Commitments.

On June 20th, the Poor People’s Campaign is hosting a mass online gathering which we are planning to attend. This gathering was originally planned to be held in Washington D.C., but the organizers decided to move online because of the coronavirus pandemic. However, despite this change of venue, it will still be receiving news coverage from CNBC. If you want to know more about the movement, we urge you to explore the campaign’s website. We want to invite you to join us in attending this event by RSVP’ing. It will be a powerful event that will almost certainly gain the attention of our nation’s leaders. We hope you will consider participating.

Please send any questions about the movement and how you can get more involved to Sean Mack, who is spending his summer interning at Union Church and organizing for this movement.

Stay safe as you continue to fight for social justice wherever you are!

Sean Mack, Sociology Major
Lyle Roelofs, President
Laurie Roelofs, First Lady
Jill Bouma, Professor of Sociology
Jackie Burnside, Professor of Sociology
Andrea Woodward, Professor of Sociology/Child and Family Studies
Loretta Reynolds, Dean of the Chapel
Jake Hofmeister, College Chaplain
LeSette M. Wright, College Chaplain
Julie LeBrun, Therapist
Grayson Butler-Peterson, Student

Another embarrassing error

I am on a ‘roll’ of mistakes.  Reacting to my images of haying Alumni Field, former TAD faculty member, Harrie Buswell noted my incorrect usage when I said the “Farm was ‘bailing’ the hay.  They were, of course, ‘baling’ the hay and those rolls are bales.  On the bright side, just as Tuesday’s mistake resulted in a wonderful Quaker meditation for sharing yesterday, this new error inspired Mr. Buswell to share a baling reminiscence from his boyhood:

I have so many wonderful memories of haying growing up in the middle of Iowa…and lots of hard work.    When I was a sophomore in high school there was this wonderful strong gentleman named John Law in Churdan, Iowa.    He and I were in a haymow together.   I could barely lug those bales to the right spot.    He would pick one up with one hand and throw it to the correct position.   I was in awe that he was so very strong and accurate as well.   One time he threw a heavy bale clear over a loaded hayrack just to see if he could.     But then came this:    When I was a junior and riding the school bus first day of school here he came with his little boy starting kindergarten.     The boy was kicking and screaming and crying not wanting to get on the bus.   And here was John Law, this big strapping wonderful gentle giant with tears of sympathy streaming down his face.     Such a special, special memory for me!

A message of hope and encouragement

I am so honored to share a moving message of hope and encouragement prepared by our own amazing Dr. Kathy Bullock

Along with this song Dr. Bullock sends her blessings and love to all of us!

Stay safe and stay hopeful, Bereans,

Lyle Roelofs, President