Local group asks you to "tip your mask" to help prevent racial biases
when out in public and Governor J.B. Pritzker is mandating Illinois residents wear them starting May 1st, we will begin to see them more frequently. However, for some communities, that causes anxiety. The Village of a Thousand Elders is creating a safety initiative called "Tip Your Mask" to help prevent confusion and racial biases.
"Tip Your Mask" is in coordination with various police departments in Illinois. When you go into a store or building, you're now asked to "tip your mask" by lowering it slightly so the business owner can see your face. After you tip, you should wash your hands or sanitize as soon as you can. Reverend Wonder Harris who founded the Village of A Thousand Elders explains, "if people were to commit a crime, they wouldn't tip the mask because they’d be caught on camera." He visited various local businesses in East Moline and said business owners' agreed that tipping masks would ease their minds to know a customer is just inside to shop, and not commit a crime.
Everyone is being asked to tip your mask, because as Pastor Harris says, "crime comes in all colors. You can't just say that just because they’re a particular color, they'll commit a crime. So it’s something all of us have to do. And It's not just using old standards and ideas and we can't have a peaceful society to do it that way." Reverend Donald William Johnson adds, "We really want to eliminate and dilute and stop any sort of confrontation. So if I tip my mask, then persons know I’m not out to do anything wrong. Because that’s the typical thing people think of with a mask."
Pastor Darryl Thompson understands why people of color may be hesitant to wear face masks, as he is one of them: "It’s really an adjustment for me. It brings anxiety and frustration because I know in my subconscious, in mind, and heart what it kind represents in our community." Thompson said he recommended his son only wear a mask once he's inside a business for fear of what others may think when they see a black man in a mask. Harris says it will take time to get used to, "once something is in your subconscious mind and it’s something you dealt with all your life, making that mental change is going to take time."
They all hope that face masks will eventually bring some unity. "Dr. King said he dreamed of a time when people would be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. Perhaps the mask is forcing us now to judge character and conduct and not skin," shares Harris.
According to the World Health Organization, if you touch your mask
as soon as possible.
The Village of a Thousand Elders say they worked with local health departments on the initiative to make sure it's safe.
Various police departments shared their support with the "Tip Your Mask" initiative: