We know it’s been a very long time since you have heard from us. Maybe you thought we shut down (we didn’t!) or went into hibernation (we did).
The truth is like all of you, we at PNP have been trying to cope with a year that has not lived up to its promise. Six months in, 2020 has felt like being in a boxing match with endless rounds. Worst of all, the opponent seems to get bigger and stronger each round.
In our 9 year history, PNP has never faced anything like what the world is facing with the novel coronavirus pandemic. As an organization built on professional and social networking events & activities, it has been extremely difficult to know that we cannot meet and engage in person as we have done since 2011. Connect.Grow.Give Back is our motto but this year the Connect part will have to be virtual for the health and safety of everyone.
To anyone who has been or knows someone who has been ill or lost a life due to COVID-19, please know that we send love, light and strength your way. We also continue to pray for strength and healing as we continue to grapple with the physical, mental, emotional and economic consequences of this virus globally.
As Philadelphia and other parts of Pennsylvania head towards a re-opening phase of businesses and facilities, we urge you to continue to be safe and use good judgment as you support local businesses and enjoy socializing again. As we are seeing Texas, Florida, California and other parts of the country, we may be tired of this pandemic but it certainly is not tired of us. So let’s remain vigilant. In the meantime, out of an abundance of caution, PNP is postponing all in person events till 2021. Let’s hope that we can reopen with a bang as we celebrate our 10th anniversary!
Before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, the Nigerian community was already reeling from the Trump Administration’s harsh visa restrictions targeting Nigeria, Eritrea, Sudan and Tanzania. Needless to say, most if not all of us know someone who has been directly impacted by these visa restrictions which ultimately keep families apart. PNP was approached by Al-Jazeera to get our take. You can check it out here.
And as if the pandemic and travel bans weren’t enough, we are back again confronting white supremacy in the face, picking up where we sadly have never left off. The month of May marked another reminder of the complete disdain for African-American life with the revelation that the killers of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor still roamed free, despite their murders months before (Breonna’s killers are still free up till now). We witnessed another innocent African-American man Christian Cooper being targeted and threatened simply for the color of his skin and we watched in absolute horror as a handcuffed and unarmed George Floyd was gruesomely murdered. We also learned that 19 year-old Nigerian-American racial justice activist Oluwatoyin Salau was tragically murdered along with a colleague.
The ensuing international protests and uprisings have forced conversations and small steps to address white supremacy & systemic racism. These conversations have moved beyond the criminal justice system and into all aspects of American society. We have been deluged with emails from corporations claiming to stand with the Black community but only time will tell us the truth.
Nigeria has not sat on the sidelines. Protesters in Nigeria have called out not just police brutality but have re-visited conversations on rape and gender violence in Nigerian society. These vital conversations are looking at more than the prevalence of rape and sexual harassment but the tools that society uses to oppress and bully victims.
With a year so full of negativity, we can only imagine what the second half of 2020 will bring. But in spite of so much darkness, we can only continue to have hope. Hope that we will have strength to make it through another day. Hope that somehow brighter days are ahead. Hope that we will use our voices and anything else possible to push for the change we want to see.
Please know that as you are looking for this hope and strength, PNP is right there with you.