To Read: On Witness and Respair: A Personal Tragedy Followed by Pandemic

On Witness and Respair: A Personal Tragedy Followed by Pandemic By Jesmyn Ward | Vanity Fair (September 2020)

The acclaimed novelist lost her beloved husband—the father of her children—as COVID-19 swept across the country. She writes through their story, and her grief.

"I cried in wonder each time I saw protest around the world because I recognized the people. I recognized the way they zip their hoodies, the way they raised their fists, the way they walked, the way they shouted. I recognized their action for what it was: witness. Even now, each day, they witness.

They witness injustice.

They witness this America, this country that gaslit us for 400 fucking years.

Witness that my state, Mississippi, waited until 2013 to ratify the 13th Amendment.

Witness that Mississippi didn’t remove the Confederate battle emblem from its state flag until 2020.

Witness Black people, Indigenous people, so many poor brown people, lying on beds in frigid hospitals, gasping our last breaths with COVID-riddled lungs, rendered flat by undiagnosed underlying conditions, triggered by years of food deserts, stress, and poverty, lives spent snatching sweets so we could eat one delicious morsel, savor some sugar on the tongue, oh Lord, because the flavor of our lives is so often bitter."