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Why we have to take the health of our community into our own hands

A healing and hydrating green juice showed me that our community still has so much work to do.

I want to first start by saying my husband said he wanted a green juice before the end of the night and guess what I did? Made him a green juice! He’s been on his health journey for over a year, which includes being plant-based, juicing, and incorporating more Whole Foods into his diet. He really likes green juices because they help heal and alkalize the body, support the immune system, promote hydration, reduce inflammation, improve digestion, function as a prebiotic, and contain many nutrients that are good for absorption.

For this recipe, he really enjoys celery, green apples, cucumbers, kiwi, parsley, and cilantro. But I didn’t necessarily come on here to talk about green juice or pretend to be a health expert. I came on here to talk about something I realized while I was preparing this juice for him. And it might’ve been one of the saddest realizations I’ve had.

Nothing I used to prepare this juice came from our community. I didn’t grow this produce. The juicer I’m using didn’t come from one of our inventors. And I bought it from Walmart, not one of our own stores. This knife came from someone else’s community. Another community constructed this cutting board. The bottle I used came from China and was sold by Amazon. Those who created this phone and computer I’m using to record and edit this video siphon natural resources from our people and utilize capitalism to distribute it at exorbitant prices. This kitchen and this house were constructed by someone else. This isn’t our own neighborhood. This isn’t our own community.

All of these realizations culminated in one profound statement of fact. Which is we really don’t have our own stuff. Everything we acquire and use comes from someone else’s community and nation. The other night, my husband and I watched Trigger Warning by Killer Mike on Netflix. And as a disclaimer, I’d like to say for mature audiences only! I repeat, for mature audiences only! But what Killer Mike was bringing out in the show was that the Black community has a lot of work to do as it pertains to rebuilding our own stuff and supporting each other. The Black dollar stays within our community for only 6 hours while Asian and Jewish dollars stay in their communities for at least 20 days. That is a problem! And I know on the surface, “We didn’t create the problem, right.”

But the reality is that we did contribute to and support the problem. Up until desegregation, we had our own neighborhoods, businesses, grocery stores and markets, schools, hospitals, and homes. And we supported one another! Was it a survival mechanism because we didn’t have any other choice, or did we actually enjoy supporting each other? I wasn’t alive during this time, obviously, but I’ll go out on a limb and say that we did enjoy having our own communities. But desegregation tells a different narrative. We had the false idea that because we were denied access, White institutions and businesses were superior. And even when we would build something up for ourselves, here comes the opposition to tear it down. But today we have opportunities to reinvest in ourselves and support one another, but are we making the choice?

I look forward to one day being able to walk out of the house that my husband built for our family, go into our own garden, pick what we need for the day, and bring it back inside to prepare farm-to-table food for our home. I look forward to being able to look to my right and left and see other families who have done the same thing. I know that it can be done, it’s just going to take focus, determination, discipline, and most importantly, unity.

So the next time you’re out grocery shopping or doing something around the house, remember this: we should be able to get all of the basic necessities from our own community. And the fact that we can’t is a problem we need to fix.

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