Joplin voters to elect 5 from 11 to City Council

Keenan Cortez

Facebook wants to know what's on my mind.

First, I want Facebook to know that I'm still hurting. I'm hurting from all the madness in our world right now.

I'm hurting from the loss of a cousin back in March from this virus. I'm hurting from a friend who is going through the pain of slowly losing someone she loves. I'm hurting because I've watched someone I care about lose two brothers inside two years. I'm hurting because I am seeing people use anger to react to discomfort in talking about race. I'm hurting because I am watching people who are trying to make change and help in all the madness get attacked for no good reason.

I'm hurting because even though I am the first Black man to ever ascend to mayor pro tem in Joplin, some have said that I am not Black enough and I'm not doing enough for the Black community. I'm hurting because I live in the Bible Belt and people will tell you they are devout Christians, and then I open Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Mostly, I'm hurting because you are hurting.

I work in health care, and when people are hurting, they come to where I work. The most amazing thing happens when someone who is hurting shows up at the hospital. Men and women they don't even know stop whatever they are doing and give 100% attention to that person. It doesn't matter who they are, how much money they have — Black, white, Asian, Hispanic or anything else. All that matters is that they are hurting.

It is actually a very beautiful thing to watch. To watch humans snap to action to do whatever it takes to make the pain go away is in some ways spiritual. I am fortunate that I get to witness this every day I report to work. I think we could learn something from a health care worker.

As most of you know, the Joplin City Council will meet today in special session to discuss and decide on a course of action related to the spike we are experiencing in our city.

I am a resident of Joplin. COVID-19 affects me; it affects all of us on the council and all the city staff including police and fire fighters, medics, health care heroes, clergy — everyone.

I will sit with my fellow council members, and we will grapple with what's best for Joplin. Remember, you voted for us to do just that. I don't know what the outcome will be, but I will be praying between now and then. I'm asking you to pray too.

After hurting comes healing. I'm ready to begin healing.

Joplin matters to me. I love Joplin. We have such a beautiful and bright future ahead of us. I support you and all that you are and will ever be.

I am asking you to join me and do this together. Together we can.

Keenan Cortez is a Joplin resident and mayor pro tem.

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