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Co-written by Katrina Reid

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In the 1980s there was the AIDS pandemic in Africa and the U.S. And before that, the people on the continent of Africa survived pandemics from Tuberculosis, Yellow Fever and Malaria.

Not to mention the spat of viral hemorrhagic fevers like: Lassa fever, Ebola virus disease, Rift Valley fever, Marburg virus disease and Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever — highly contagious and fatal diseases, which have the theoretical
potential to become pandemics.

And yet, Africans thrive.

The Tuskegee Experiments that contributed to the rampant spread of syphilis, while not qualifying as a pandemic, was spread by the U.S. government.

There’s the current pandemic of pregnancy-related fatalities for Black mothers. Then there’s the ongoing epidemic of lead poisoning in cities like Flint, Michigan, stemming from environmental racism. And not to mention the prevailing belief that our bodies experience less pain, and the subsequent malpractice that occurs due to that bias.

And yet, Black folx in America survive.

As you continue researching, you’ll find examples of these kinds of experiences amongst Black people in the Caribbean, South America and around the world.

And yet, Black folx, the world over, continue to exist.

While other folx of various backgrounds have experienced traumas related to these and other systems, there is a unique way we as Black people experience existential threats like pandemics, including COVID-19. Navigating and adjusting to them, is embedded in our history and survival.

Afrofuturism is a way of imagining possible futures through a Black cultural lens. It offers a unique way of re-imagining a way forward.

How? Pick one of four ways: