Why do African Americans make up just 47% of the population of Washington, DC but account for 80% of DC's deaths from COVID-19? We’ve been told that it boils down to factors like genetics and diet. But today’s guest, Maurice Cook, Founder and Executive Director of Serve Your City DC, a non-profit based in Washington, is fed up with explanations like that. Maurice talks with co-host Cindy Sealls about how his organization is continuing to support underserved youth and their families during the pandemic. He also offers a generous helping of straight talk about the larger factors that are making African Americans vulnerable to COVID-19 and that other virus that has long infected this country: racism.
Links to Serve Your City DC:
Find out more and/or make a donation here: www.serveyourcitydc.org
Interested in volunteering? Email Maurice here: firstname.lastname@example.org
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This episode was edited by Kelley
The theme music is Fragilistic by Ketsa
licensed under CC BY NC ND 4.0
Cindy Sealls: 0:00Do you know what the number one podcast is in the United States?
Kelley Lynch: 0:03I do not know what it is.
Cindy Sealls: 0:05And I bet you can't guess. I.
Kelley Lynch: 0:08I have no clue.
: 0:10What do you think it's about? What do you think the religion? No , uh , it's a guy called Joe Rogan. Oh, Joe Rogan. Oh, okay . The Joe Rogan experience, he interviewing people. He's just interviewing a bunch of people about, I mean, all kinds of people about all kinds of things. These are number one buckets . Huh? Uh , and then the next, the next ones are murder stuff . You and I would never listen to sort of the murder crime podcast where they're investigating some unsolved murder or something. Huh. Interesting. Yeah. And you and I look at all the podcasts we listened to, but we don't listen to those. I mean, I tried listening to Joe Rogan , uh , but it's too long.
Speaker 1: 0:53I mean, to me and then sports podcasts, which I would listen to, but you would have no interest in . And you know, they're basically talking about sports for three hours. Wow. So what I'm saying is we can make our podcasts with the voices that we want to hear and you know, how we are. We like to hear viewpoints from all sides. And I think having that all the time, please, you're always asking people questions, especially if they bring up something you're like, Oh, I want to ask you about that. And, and the podcast can, can be a way that, you know, maybe we have
Speaker 2: 1:40some, some cross contamination that's a great way to put it. So we have like voices from this side, voices from that side. So there's no side anymore. Right. Everybody everybody's contaminated . That's right.
Speaker 3: 2:04[inaudible]
Cindy Sealls: 2:06Hi, I'm Cindy Sealls. Welcome to a new normal, a podcast about how we're adapting to life during the pandemic and where we go from here. My guest today is Maurice Cook, Executive Director and Founder of Serve Your City, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D C. Maurice, welcome to the show. How're you doing? Can you start by telling us a little bit about what you do?
Maurice Cook: 2:37Serve your city serves underserved youth for the most part and their families? You know, we do that by having what we call non- traditional programs for black and Brown youth. These programs include a rowing program. We have the only majority black rowing youth rowing crew here in Washington, D C.
Cindy Sealls: 3:04That's pretty impressive.
Maurice Cook: 3:06We also have yoga, tennis , swim, snorkel, scuba diving instruction. We also do some early career and college prep engagement. I'm also an organizer, meaning that I'm engaged with organizations. I'm a member of organizations here in DC, that fight policy issues that are so harmful for the black and Brown community based upon white supremacy and capitalism. And so we try to help build in political education for our youth and our families incorporating our understanding of the structures that keep us in this perpetually dependent space. When the mayor's Muriel Bowser's Mayor of Washington, DC stay at home order took place, we quickly repurposed Serve Your City , to become the infrastructure hub for the Ward Six mutual aid team. And we're a part of the larger DC mutual aid network that is delivering food and supplies every day, given the breakdown of the structures that are not addressing , those most in need and that need the support. And so Serve Your City is focused on Ward Six, where we are the hub, where I live. We're still very high touch given even the challenges that we have here , right now, due to COVID-19.
Cindy Sealls: 4:53Now just for sake of clarification because some people may be listening to this who aren't familiar with , Washington DC or the area. What can you describe , Ward Six and what kind of community that is?
Maurice Cook: 5:08Yeah , so Washington, DC, like many cities across America is facing a huge, growing economic gap, which plays out racially. If you understand the historical context of white flight because of integration in the cities in the fifties and the sixties, forties, fifties, and sixties, where the city has had more segregation and then the growth in a black middle, some would call it a black middle class, of being able to enter city spaces based upon some court decisions and some changing o f, y ou k now, cultural mores, of the promotion of integration. And then I guess the coup de Gras t o that would have been 1968. It happened before 68, but certainly here in DC, Washington DC i n 68, with the assassination of Martin Luther King. We had, a huge Exodus of our white comrades from the city spaces. And so cause there were fires along U s t reet, which is a historic black community in 14th street and H s t reet. So we had buyers and, what we call the rebellions in 68 and white people, the ones that were remaining in the city left in droves. And so if you fast forward a little bit thro ugh the seventies and I was born in 1970, so I had the beautiful blessing of n or malizing a black majority place. I thought it was normal. I didn't realize that most of America wasn't like this and that was the har d lesson to learn. And, you know, we went through all of the tumb les and challenges, th r ough the eighties and nineties with the drugs, you know, and the purposed, disinvestment, you of human life. So through those challenges through this opportunity for a re-i nvestment, wh ich we call so lovingly gentrification, and this gave an opportunity for middle class white folks and others, to be able to reinvest and buy property that was, sp e cifically devalued through red lin i ng, thr ough restrictive covenants, through, st r uctural oppression, keeping the prices low for the housing market for the real estate magnets, to be able to use this ghost of a hidden hand to value property at an exorbitant rate way beyond the price of the threshold of the folks who were born and raised here traditionally for generations could possibly afford. And so what this has happened over the last 30 years, we've seen a huge decline where the black majority is now at 46%. So we've lost close to 30% in 30 years. The majority of the black population live across the Anacostia river and the area that has really less developed country a verages when it comes to maternal death rate and diabetes, comparing diabetes to sub Saharan Africa, w e're in a race with when it comes to some of those health outcomes. And, you know, obviously up to about 35% unemployment, you know, just everything you can imagine from the neglect that is so prevalent throughout much of America, specifically in spaces that black and Brown people occupy. And so where I live in Ward Six, actually live on Capitol Hill has changed dramatically. We have lost, I was on this. I was literally on the lawn of the Capitol. I was giving a speech and I had AOC on one side and Bernie on the other. And I told them that in 2000, the year 2000 Capitol Hill, this neighborhood was 60% black and 30% white. And now it's 60% white and 30% black since 2000 , 20 years. And so we live in a hugely gentrified community where you'll have new condo developments next to a small pocket of projects, housing projects, where we have tent encampments next to a recently built community called NOMA , North of Massachusetts. We have new names for all these old neighborhoods now, but you know, that's a plan, the community that's being built on top of people. And now they have tent encampments under the train , overpass because the North end southbound train cuts through that neighborhood because Union Station is, right there. It abuts Union Station, the train station. So our property value has skyrocketed. I think we have the , you know, because of the new development of the Wharf with which is also in Ward Six, we have the highest per capita income here. The highest per capita real estate because of the Wharf project, which is basically two years old. And the plan is I'm assuming is that i t'll be unaffordable for most wage workers. It already is for most wage workers and certainly most salaried workers. Most the majority of them overwhelming majority won't be able to afford to purchase t hem. And so these are the challenges that we face in ward six and my organization Serve Your City was purposely created to take the opportunity to acquire the reparations necessary to heal the city and to heal this country. You know, our motto is, black and brown faces invading all white spaces. And we have plenty of opportunity to do that here within Washington D C now a t my ever-growing trauma.
Cindy Sealls: 12:05So when you go in, what are you doing now?
Maurice Cook: 12:08So now I have to look on a delivery list which is the output of a hotline that we're running for individuals to call with their needs and individuals to volunteer. And I am the dispatcher on this hotline list where what I do is I translate the need to a handful of black led community organizations that are tasked to risk their lives and deliver the supplies we've collected via the volunteers and donations. And we have a pod system that I created really where we have the storage locations , mostly churches that are next to, or abut the old traditional black communities that are highly gentrified. And so the mostly white people in those communities because they live right there too, they get to put in their extra goods and supplies. We get supplies, goods, food, and we have enough money for our internal volunteers to go shopping, to keep the pods up at a base level. And so I've created a system where I'm trying to build for the long term where people don't have to travel to get what they want. And so our delivery folks, I have to rotate them. I try to rotate them. And so in the mornings what I'm doing is, I'm assigning each of them, a number of individuals to deliver to and telling them what pods are available and what is in the pods . And so my day is managing all of that managing volunteer feelings and , and then managing the needs of our people to make sure that they have the basics. And I'm a teacher. I mean, mostly what I'm doing is I'm teaching. Mostly I'm teaching people who cared the moment that COVID happened, that there've been people who were in need since they've been born. Okay. You know that yo u've n ever walked a day on earth without people in need and that this need didn't begin the moment that you woke up and started ca ring, because what I think it's just exposed this place for what it really is. And also, w e're also embedding, dealing with the quote unquote digital divide. Now that school, has been barred, the city somehow, Oh wow. We have a problem with people who don't have the same privilege of th e d evices an d t he internet. You know, like even though this technology has been around for close to 25 years, at least, and we've always had that problem with this, with this technology. And now the people care and we had to pressure th e c ity to release 16,000, the city pretended as if there was only 30% ne ed, they have no idea what the real level of need is. And we know that black children, Brown children wi ll s uffer greatly on the other end. And I can't wait until so meone's s trong enough and transparent enough to say exactly what the co nsequence w ill be. That'll be a while then. So we went upon ourselves because, education is at the heart of what we do, but we're collecting laptops and we're going to spend money on hotspots and we're going to make sure people are covered. And so we're doing that. And we're also infusing a public health campaign because our people don't have access to the information nor the resources. And with that, we have to collect as much PPE as we possibly can. We do food lines. And th en m o st o f t hose food lines, not everyone is masked up be cause t hey don't have access to masks. And we created some flyers and some informational packets, and we're go ing t o s tart putting all this stuff together, the food, the laptops, t he public health campaign information, and as much love as we can into a gift bag and ha nd i t t o our people.
Cindy Sealls: 16:31Have you started to try to plan really? I mean, you know, I don't know how you could plan, but what's going on with that as far as the uncertainty of all of this stuff.
Maurice Cook: 16:43So we have planned, and this is the truth, and this is for all of us until there's a vaccine, until people are tested, we're all playing games here. And so we're planning for the long haul because we know that the consequences for the people we love the most will be devastating. And it's g oing t o take us years to pick b ack up, years. And if you have the privilege not to look that right in the face, God bless you. You know? I m ean, y ou k now, y ou k now, God bless you. I m ean, you know, i t must be i n a nice blissful ignorance, but what I'm trying to communicate to you, Cindy, is that our programs haven't changed. That uncertainty is the world in which we thrived on because we didn't depend upon the government. The reason why we could do what we did w ell, because I k now better than to be black and depend upon the government for my liberation. So this is par for the course. R ight? Right. It is. It is definitely heightened, no question about it. But really, to be honest, the heightened part is the realization of all the people who want to save us, how devastating the structure is. I mean, I knew that black people were going to suffer the most and now 80% of the deaths here in DC ar e o f b lack people and we're 46% of the population. So, and I don't know what the national numbers are because I'm too busy to watch national news. And I hear everybody complaining about Trump and whatever, and this and that. It ain't no damn Trump, you know. It's everybody making conditions to us in the way that they can support us. That's what it, that's what kills us. It's not, COVID that's killing us. It's the normalization of immorality in allowing humans to live the way that they do that they don't have the privilege not to go to work. You don't have the privilege to be socially distant. They live in squalor. I have to make the choice. I've had to make the choice. I've c ollected masks that I've got to give homeless people a nd homeless shelters and people who live in t ents, disposable masks. And I have to tell them to keep wearing them because they don't have the luxury of a reusable mask because they can't wash them. An d s o it's pointless to give them reusable masks. So yeah, that's something that's different that I even have to face making these types of terrible decisions. No, but what gets me through and you know, it's a blessing. I mean, you know, I have my wife here to hear me vent every single day about it 'cause it crushes me, you know? Yeah. but what's not crushing is the spirit of the people in need. What's crushing are the demands of the people who benefit from perpetual state of people in need. That's, what's crushing. And I have to have love for everybody. You know, that's just my heart, but it is tiring -that part - really hard right now. All the pretenders and the fakers and the social justice wannabees and no , all of these policy writers and campaign and all that sh*t. I mean, you know, who could I vote for that would have prevented this, right ? No one, no one. And so I speak sometimes when I get really upset. No, I do. I speak sometimes when I speak a lot.
Cindy Sealls: 21:18You're speaking for people who don't have a voice, you know, and so that's much needed. Because you're speaking for people who, even if they did try to speak ,people wouldn't listen to them . Because maybe, like you said, they live in the wrong place or they got involved in the wrong quote, unquote, wrong activity. And so, you know , they're not deemed to be valuable enough to be listened to. So that's great that you're, you are that voice for those people.
Maurice Cook: 21:54Yeah. No. And it's, thank you for saying that. Thank you. You know, I've, I've been blessed a lot. I mean just having the opportunities that I've had, and I understand how hard it is to manifest those opportunities. And I understand the structures that are in the way, They cripple you from accessing those opportunities. And then I w atch people's faces when they try to manage that sh*t. The gatekeepers and explainers that rationalize all this sh*t. And, I'm coming after them. I'm coming after them because their bullshit kills people. It does. It kills people and Serve Your City is a bridge. That's what we do. We bridge communities because t hat's our love. That's our spirit. It's going to take all of us or it's going to take none of us. And I really sincerely mean that. I mean, th at I 'm willing to take away what you have in order for everyone to have something. I really mean it to my heart. There's no one to vote for who has that platform. So I don't give a f*ck about the structures of this place. This country is sick from the co re. This place is not for us. It is against us.
Cindy Sealls: 23:48At some point, maybe years down the line , this whole stay at home, and you know, it'll probably be sooner than we really need it to be for the health of everybody, but, it'll go away. Do you think things will go back to quote unquote normal and do you want things to go back to normal?
Maurice Cook: 24:13Well, I definitely don't want things to go back to normal. I don't know what normal means.
Cindy Sealls: 24:17Everything's open. Everybody starts buying everything. Everybody starts driving everywhere and traveling everywhere. And , you know, all of the people with money, continue to use their money and those of us without money don't take a thought about what we're doing to our physical health, our mental health, the environment. You know, everybody just kind of does whatever they want to do to get the most that they possibly can before they die, basically. Buy up everything, use up everything before you die. That kind of stuff. That k ind o f normal. Including the powers that be who encourage us to do that, even though they know it's bad for us, it's bad for the environment. Like you said, not really caring about how their fellow human being is doing. You know, I get all my stuff. Hey, you go t t o g et all your stuff. And if you fail to get all your stuff, that's too bad for you, that was your fault. You know, that kind of normal, which is kind of our regular no rmal.
Maurice Cook: 25:31In a way, when you put it that way, it makes you put Covid on the table. Does that make sense? Think about that.
Cindy Sealls: 25:46Explain that to me.
Maurice Cook: 25:49in our lifetime, we've never had something that was so fair. I'm just saying of the, of the, of the natural manifestation of it or, unnatural manifestation.
Cindy Sealls: 26:05That's true. That's true. You're right about that.
Maurice Cook: 26:09The structure, the system makes it unfair, but the manifestation of the virus is fair. So black people are not dying from the virus. They're dying from the normalization of their oppression.
Cindy Sealls: 26:31Yeah. I totally agree with you on that.
Maurice Cook: 26:34It's facts . It's our low health outcomes. Based on environmental racism. And i t's the fact that we've never had an opportunity to heal from this place. It's always a meat grinding process for us. We have a short window here to do what we need to do for our people. We forgot a lot of things. In the last 50 years ,we lost a lot of skills, autonomous skills that we were forced to acquire because of the system. There's a gap there. I know you saw this old world. I saw the old world too. I m iss those people badly. I miss them so badly. They worked so hard and expected so little. I loved them.
Cindy Sealls: 27:34They gave their lives. You know what I mean? I don't think that the black people who were born, I would say after 1980, really understand what our parents and our grandparents went through. You know , you were talking about the whole thing of uncertainty and when you were talking, I was thinking about it. I mean, I'm about 10 years older than you. And we would always say whenever there was some crisis, we would say, well, black people, they're not g oing t o be throwing themselves off of a building. We know what it's like to be poor. And we know what it's like to not have stuff that you need and try to figure out how am I going to feed my kids? Where am I go ing t o l ay my head? You know, that kind of thing. So we were just about, okay, so this is just another a situation where, we ll, yo u g o tta f igure out how are we going to stay alive, basically you know. I say all the time, if you're a black person and you're a DOS, you know, a descendant of slaves, that alone should make you walk around with your chest out. That your family survived enough so that you are here in this time period, given what they went through, you know.
Maurice Cook: 29:06Well, Cindy, it's up to me and you to make sure that they do right. That's not a failure of theirs. That's a failure of ours . That's why I do what I do. And I like causing trouble. That's what we need though. You know, we need each other. Right , right. We need each other. And you know, I don't have it figured out, but I know what I've been blessed with. Right. I mean , you know, I had my grandma for 45 years and she loved me so much. And she was born in 32 and her father died at nine when she was nine years old. And he was a farmer and owned a lot of land in Howard County. And
Cindy Sealls: 30:03Which is saying a lot. The fact that he owned land then is, boy...
Maurice Cook: 30:03I got the opportunity from 1970 to about 84 because the property that my grandparents lived on was an old black enclave of former enslaved Quakers and Quaker family . And there were no white people that lived in this area of farmers and large property owners. And , you know , I was just growing up and I didn't realize how special it was until I got much older. And I see all of our people who don't have this core, you know. The reason why I can, I think, do the things I do is I just received so much love as a kid. And a lot of people, our people, other people, so many people, this stretches among everybody, they just don't have that core and money and pain and trauma and all of it. And then the fear, fear is really the worst. I mean, everyone would act differently if they lived a moment of insecurity, a moment.
Cindy Sealls: 31:56So do you think that COVID can somehow push your mission forward for black folks and for other folks who really don't have a chance against the system as it is now.
Maurice Cook: 32:17if it's about taking care of each other. Yeah. What we're going to do very well, because that's what we know how to do. Yeah. I just want to take care of as many people as I possibly can.
Cindy Sealls: 32:35So are you saying that you believe that we can, we can make some real changes in our system?
Maurice Cook: 32:42Listen, Cindy, not in this system, no.
Cindy Sealls: 32:50Why do you think that is?
Maurice Cook: 32:51Cindy, let me say it again. It's 2020, right? 80% of the people who've died are black in Washington, DC. W e're only 46% of the population. Cindy, the system is working. But I mean, if your job is to spread information, then tell people the truth.
Cindy Sealls: 33:17That's true.
Maurice Cook: 33:18I mean, if things have improved, you c ould h ave put 80%, I should say this, but you c ould h ave put 80% in 1820.
Cindy Sealls: 33:27Right. That's true. That's absolutely true. I mean, it's sad. Very , very sad, but very true.
Maurice Cook: 33:37So how did nonviolence , so
Cindy Sealls: 33:39It actually would have been less cause the slave owners wouldn't want their slaves to die because then they'd have to replace them.
Maurice Cook: 33:43That's true. They valued us more back then. That's so true.
Cindy Sealls: 33:49Wow. That's shameful.
Maurice Cook: 33:52No, it's not, Cindy. It's this place where we live. We were kidnapped, Cindy, into a place and we've normalized that sh*t. And so we can tell that, we can tell the truth. Why should we have to normalize a place that kidnapped us ? I mean, w hat t he, why should we have to?
Cindy Sealls: 34:19So you got to give me some hope though, Maurice. I don't, I'm feeling like, Oh God...
Maurice Cook: 34:25we just, listen . We just talked about the hope that we have all the answers within us because we made it here.
Cindy Sealls: 34:33Right. That's true. That's true. That's true. So, if coming out of this, you had one thing or two things or three things that could come out of this whole situation, what would that be? Or what would those be and why?
Maurice Cook: 34:50I would say...
Cindy Sealls: 34:50And you have the power to change the system.
Maurice Cook: 34:54No, I'm not changing the system, Cindy. We gotta create an autonomous environment that breaks away our dependence upon the system, like we're doing. We did it . We did it already. That's what we've done. We're not depending upon the system to sustain feeding everybody. But I think that highlighting the fact that we don't need this system is a good outcome. And I do need a layer of people around me to deal with the structure because I have, I'm a hammer. I mean, with a lot of love, but I'm a hammer . I'm going to tell the truth. We can have an honest conversation about the power dynamic . I'm resentful that in the 20th century, 21st century, I have to come to you for anything. You're no better than me. And so, so obviously I need people around me to smooth that over.
Cindy Sealls: 36:14Well, I look at it like , and I don't know if anybody, I'm sure people have thought about this too, but sort of like , you know, I say to people there were a multitude of reasons why the black people were able to get some of the rights they got in the fifties and the sixties. But the two bookends were basically King and Malcolm X. And they say, what do you mean? I said, well, think about it. Here comes King. And he's, you know, he's "Okay, I'm going to work with you guys. This is what we want. This is when we want it. This is how we want it." And then you get Malcolm X saying, "If you come over here, I'm going to give you, butt full of lead. So come on over, if you want to," you know. So it was, you know, white people had a choice, okay. "We can deal with this guy or that guy. Maybe we'll deal with this guy. That guy seems crazy." I think it really helped King. I don't know if he ever looked at it like that, that Malcolm was out there saying, "Oh, by any means necessary."
Maurice Cook: 37:21I believe that Malcolm protected MLK and that they understood that. I believe they were of the same core and that may not have played out publicly, but I think the brothers were the brothers. They knew it was, you know, these are two brilliant brothers. They know what the time , what time it is, you know, they know time. It is. So I have no doubt that they, there was a there was a coalition. Listen, this is my dream. I mean one of my fantasies is that, yeah, a fantasy is more like the black star liner, you know, where we all get on the ship. And we only invite the chosen, you know, how many white people would want to be on our ship ? So many of them would be, you know why? Because we protect white people from other white people. But if we left, they be calling us n****s for leaving. "You n*****s. I didn't really m ean f or y ou to go back to Africa."
Cindy Sealls: 38:42Right.
Maurice Cook: 38:44You're damned if you do, damned if you don't. You know why? B ecause somebody is going to be black in this country.
Cindy Sealls: 38:48right? Oh yeah.
Maurice Cook: 38:50Always. Always. What minority. I mean, every minority would be shaking themselves to death that they thought we would leave.
Cindy Sealls: 38:58Right
Maurice Cook: 38:59Are you kidding me?
Cindy Sealls: 39:02That's so true. I think we bought into the thing of, you know, like I always say to people about capitalism. I say, the way capitalism works is because they figured out that, "Okay, this stuff really doesn't work well to let the market decide. So let's let this big group of people get more than those people. But of course, they're not going to get what we get. We're gonna make that group big enough so if those people down there ever try to start something, we don't have to worry about nothing cause they ain't gonna let them. And we're going to tell them the big group of people, we're going to say, Hey, one day, you're going to be like one of us. Now that can't really be. But you know, we don't tell them that and that's going to keep them from letting those people ,
Maurice Cook: 39:50They wrote it in the constitution. I respect them. They didn't lie.
Cindy Sealls: 39:57Yeah . That's true. Well, it's hard, you know, I think it's that capitalist, you know, the story , Kelly and I talk a lot about stories. Stories are what people live on. It's what we, you know, it's and it's interesting. Africa was sorta known for stories in their clans , in their tribes. It was the story. And they passed along their story, you know , through their griots. And capitalism is a story that is made up to make you believe that this could be You and everybody believes it. And so when you get into that group, you know, you feel special. "Oh my God, they let me in the group. I don't want to screw this up. I'm in the haves. And look, they think I'm smart. They think I'm pretty. They think I'm awesome. No , I don't want to mess this up." You know, it's that kind of mindset that, you know , we as black folks have. I remember my mom used to say, and I j ust kind of get on her about it. She would say, "You know, we were better off when we had to be segregated." I'm like, mom, how why would you say that? Sh e's l i ke " All the black people had to live together. So you had my dad...." Her dad was a doctor. She sa ys, so it wa s m e, our family and my granddaddy was a pr eacher. My dad was a doctor an d n ext door was the mailman. An d n ext door to him was the trash man. An d e verybody lived together." She said, "Now, you know, people like that, my dad, they would move away. It w o uldn't b e i n the black ne ighborhood." You know, cause now they can go move and live with the white people. So now the black neighborhoods are just all the people who can't afford to move out of that neighborhood. Just that word before. It was no big deal for you in your, in your class, in p ublic school to have all these range of people, parents and grandparents that kids knew about. So it was no big deal for you to know somebody who was a doctor or a dentist or a lawyer or a garbage man. She said, it was like, they were on the same level 'cause if you're black, you're black. This is, this is your lot. On both sides of my family, we had free black people, very unusual, yo u k n ow, free black people in the early 1800s. And so this one family let these black kids go to a Quaker school. So most of the time, you know, you didn't have black people in the early 1800s wh o c ould read and write. That's not something that you need to brag about. That was just luck, pure luck.
Maurice Cook: 42:49It definitely is a benefit, but it means nothing compared to the structures that we face. We have to do that in coalition. And see, that's what COVID is doing, building coalitions. Covid has been actually better than Trump. Trump was the best community organizer I've ever seen in my entire life up until Covid. I m ean, Trump brought people together, unlike anything I'd ever seen before in my entire life. I mean, I 've g ot t o hand it to him. He is the great unifier. I know on the surface, that may seem crazy. But le t 's, w e know what's happened on the street and on the ground. And there 's a, t h e re's a whole world that's been formed that hates the f*ck out of that dude. And they' re will ing to turn the cheek on the other disagreements that they have with other people who hate Trump. That's the coalition that the, at least the Democrats are going on and t hey 're going to fail miserably. But t hat 's the coalition, but they just don't have the p iza zz to pu ll it off 'cause they got nothing. They got nothing. And I want our people to stop protecting these people because it's going to, we're going to keep getting the same result. I mean, I mean that we n eed to drop out because the contest doesn't really have much of an impact on our well-being any way. Again, 80% of the people who die from COVID are black here in W ashington, DC. And we have the highest per capita income of black people from around the world.
Cindy Sealls: 44:28That's true. That is absolutely true. Wow. I even think about that.
Maurice Cook: 44:33We can go ahead and just do the work and build this thing. I don't know what y'all are doing out there. I don't know what they're doing, but you can put yourself to work and get out of your own feelings and your own anxiety about how this may impact you. That's my advice.
Cindy Sealls: 44:50So Maurice, thank you so much. Is there anything you want to add, anything you want people to know?
Maurice Cook: 44:58Yes. Please donate to serveyourcitydc.org
Cindy Sealls: 45:02If people want to volunteer for your organization how do they go about doing that?
Maurice Cook: 45:05Right now, they would email email@example.com. Ward, the number six mutual aid at Gmail.
Cindy Sealls: 45:16Thank you so much, Maurice.
Maurice Cook: 45:19Thank you , Cindy.
Cindy Sealls: 45:19And you take care and stay well. Be blessed and um, Hey, thank you for being out there fighting for us, for everybody. All of us.
Maurice Cook: 45:30All right . Take care.
Cindy Sealls: 45:31Take care now.
Maurice Cook: 45:32Bye. Bye .
Cindy Sealls: 45:32Bye. Bye.
Kelley Lynch: 45:42I wanted to ask you what you thought about Maurice.
Cindy Sealls: 45:49He's very passionate about black folks and helping black folks. What do you think about the 80% of people? Well, you know, you've been following all this stuff really African-Americans and all this. Thank you for turning me on to that podcast episode because my initial , explanation has always been the reason why black people have high blood pressure, diabetes, you know, it's the foods that we eat. And of course the foods that you eat come from, usually your parents also, it's the case that in a lot of predominantly , um, African American neighborhoods, there are no, there's one or two grocery stores. They have these markets that are on the corner and the markets sell chips, candy bars and sodas, and what this woman and I , I mean, I totally, I mean, she's a scientist, so I guess she knows what she's saying, but it makes so much sense. She , um, came up with this theory that she called weathering. And that's what happens to black people because they are basically in a constant state of stress and the constant state of either fight or flight. And she said that when we go through all of these different kinds of racial incidents, those hormones are constantly flooding our system.
Kelley Lynch: 47:37And maybe some of those things like with Maurice it's that like that affront day after day after day. Right. And , and feeling that injustice kind of like watching some of those police videos where I don't know if you saw the one today, this guy, this guy was like, clearly there was video of it. He did nothing. And this police officer is just hounding him.
Cindy Sealls: 48:04Is that the one in New York? I don't go the one from New York. Yeah. There was one of those. Yeah. And you see that and it's sort of like a constant flow of that kind of stuff. So she said we're like 10 years older than we really are on the inside of our bodies. Which means when we do get covid, there's a higher chance of us dying because instead of being a 65 year old black person getting COVID, we're actually a 75 year old black person getting Covid
Kelley Lynch: 48:47You guys know what you need to do. Hit subscribe, put it on Facebook.
Cindy Sealls: 48:53And tell them we're number 11 'cause they only list the top 10 so if we say we're 11 and we're not they'll never know. W e g ot t o throw a murder mystery, a s ports murder mystery with a great guest and t hen w e'll be number one.
: 49:10We're number one.