equity racism

A Letter From President & CEO: Natasha Harrison

“What’s happening is black folks are getting infected more because they are exposed more, and once infected they’re dying more because they have their bodies — our bodies — have born the burden of chronic disinvestment (and) active neglect of the community, she said. “When I look at it is because of structural racism, which puts us in the forward facing jobs so that we are exposed and less valued and don’t have the protection that we need.”
-Dr. Camara Phyllis Jones, a family physician and epidemiologist whose work focuses on the impacts of racism on the health and well-being of the nation excerpt from Why blacks are at higher risk for coronovirus
As I type this, the governor of my home state of Georgia has already announced that gyms, bowling alleys, hair salons, barber shops, nail salons and other similar businesses can reopen statewide on Friday, April 24th.  We are not ready.  
He is not alarmed about the one in 10 deaths in the United States from COVID-19 has occurred in the four-state arc of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia.  He is not deterred by the fact that  predominantly Black populated counties in the Georgia are experiencing rising cases and deaths due to COVID-19.  The curve is not flattening for these communities.

His message is clear: Black lives are expendable.

Black communities are once again trying to reconcile the state’s lack of concern for their health and well being that is akin to attempted genocide.  My colleague and sister, Neith Sankofa, recently shared, “At this time we must choose both to NOT participate in these systems of harm if we can sustain ourselves otherwise AND assist those who cannot in the short term while also creating new healthy paradigms for all of us to transition into.”

So, how do we begin to do this?

  1. Buy gift certificates from Black led gyms, nail salons, hair salons, spas, barber shops and bowling alleys Support Black led businesses so they can center their health and well being for themselves and their community.  The City of Atlanta has started the #AtlStrong fund to support beauty providers.  Check out Ujamaa Box  a monthly subscription that supports Black led business and Buy from a Black Woman, a major connector to Black women led businesses.
  2. Call Your Governor Flood your governor’s office with your concerns.  If you are in Georgia, please contact Govenor Kemp’s office at (404) 656-1776.
  3. Support and Participate in COVID-19 Mutual Aid Funds It’s Going Down provides the most comprehensive listing of resources and mutual aid resources across the country.  Mutual aid funds typically provide rapid response funding to individuals in need of assistance.
  4. Share Resources There are a number of resource listings being shared.  We have created a resource listing for philanthropy, nonprofit and for profit businesses and individuals.  Please share the resources your receive with your family, friends and community.
  5. Center Joy Above it all, center joy.  Joy opens the door to hope and possibilities.  Reflect on, “What brings me joy?”  Write it down and begin to tap into it.  When I answered this question, I recalled that I love fashion.  As a child, I would watch Style with Elsa Klensch   I would imagine myself backstage during a fashion show.  Just thinking about it puts a smile on my face!
What are your thoughts?  Please share how you are navigating COVID-19.
In service, love and light,
natasha sig

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