“The daring, flamboyant aspect of [young adult] black smokers’ personalities are evident in the many trends they start. And the fact that these trends often spread to the general population speaks to the unrecognized power and influence this subgroup yields on society.”
(RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company document source below)

Howling Into the Wind

Our hearts are heavy, our spirits are weary, and our eyes are filled to the brim with overflowing tears, tears that can no longer be held back. Another Black man, another Brown man, another Black boy, dead or abused. The videos keep coming, confronting our consciousness, confirming what many have always known, confirming what many would simply never believe. Perhaps we are in the midst of our “urban spring,” and it hurts. The anger, the rage – they are deep and profound; at times, it seems as if the world is coming undone.

For those of us who do tobacco control in the vulnerable communities that are most affected, our work has become a lot harder. At best our tobacco control issues are put on hold; at worst they take giant strides backwards. Pushed back and relegated once again to that back burner of non-pressing issues. The tobacco industry loves times such as these because they know we are howling into the wind, howling into the winds of racism, injustice, and indifference. And the tobacco industry knows that the wind usually wins.

Because at times like these, how do we continue to beat the drum for tobacco control? How do we tell our vulnerable communities that even as they continue to step over the dead, they must keep their eyes fixed on their true enemy and number one killer of their people? We honor meeting communities where they are by listening to their acute concerns, in order to understand how best to work with them to address chronic tobacco control issues. It is not easy, but equity, social justice, inclusion, capacity building, and advocacy must be kept at the forefront, and that is what we embody here at The LOOP.

Take care of yourselves. But seek justice; seek peace.

Let’s continue to work together for justice in all communities!