Pandemic. Poison. Progress?
Girls Chronically Rock was birthed out of a fight for equality, recognition of others’ regardless of their differences, and to be a safe place – of confidence, of style, and of community. That was true back in 2015 when we began, it reigns true even more so now.
My heart is heavy as I’m writing this – considering the nature and condition of our country right now. I’ve been processing all that’s happened, all things riddled with death and mourning.
The pandemic took the entire world by storm, seemingly targeting anyone who it could get its hands on. In the US, we’ve sat in fear for going on four months now, as our politician, doctors, and other essential workers take to many angles of combat, to navigate health crisis, angry stir-crazy civilians, and the declining economy.
The second poison that boiling over in the US is that of systemic racism, injustice and police brutality. All of which birthed the term #BlackLivesMatter, back in 2013 after the untimely death of Trayvon Martin. Seven years later, the term is ignited as folks are marching and protesting again at the death of George Floyd (and the many other lives recently lost). Amid the pandemic, black people and their allies are doing what it takes to show that this injustice is just as scary, fatal and unfair as that of the COVID-19.
As the owner of Girls Chronically Rock, it’s important that I approach all in essence of what my company was founded on. I look at both crises in fear, disgust, and anxiety as they both impact my community and I on a very personal level.
I am a black woman. I am a black disabled woman. Proud, yes. Super aware of the multiple targets on my back? Also, yes. I’ve been discriminated against because of the color of my skin, because I’m a woman, because of my health condition “pre-rona” and before the world took to turning a hashtag into a movement.
Now, I worry that there’s no way out.
In my earlier post, I talked about how the virus offers even more of a risk for disabled folks. My immune system is weaker – meaning that a mere brush with the virus could lead fatal.
As a black woman, I worry that I could die at the hands of the system. What if I can’t “get on the ground” or “put [my] hands up” fast enough? What if I’m at home and unable to answer the door? Will they barge in? Will they tackle me? I may not be able to defend myself – but then again, even if I did, all roads seem to lead to death.
So what can I do?
It felt like nothing but to hope and pray for a miracle. I can’t join the protests. I can’t take down the system. I can’t somehow change the minds of racist peers or politicians. I can’t bring back the many lives lost to coronavirus or the cops. I can’t fix it, as much as I want to.
But I’m committed to doing what I can.
Girls Chronically Rock is taking a stand, using what we have. We stand with the doctors who are still working hard on the frontlines. We stand with those who have been impacted by coronavirus, be it sickness, job loss, or loss of a loved one. We stand with every single black life lost, every single black life fighting, every single life born.
We have taken to educating others: I’ve been featured on numerous virtual seminars since March. We’ve created a masks to help equip folks with personal protective equipment (PPE). To support the message that #BlackLivesMatter, we’ve started our t-shirt and merchandise line, too.
As part of this community, I know that you are a bright spot in these dark times. I know that you value equality, safety and family as much as I do. I’m honored to know and have you in my circle – one that embraces everyone. Those of us who are mourning, who are afraid and confused, who are impatiently waiting for change, know that we stand together. For those of us who aren’t directly impacted, but at looking to contribute and support, know that we appreciate you.
I’m taking it day by day: contributing what I can and maintaining my emotions. I’d like to continue being here for you, too. As usual, please continue to use the #GCRFamily hashtag to share your stories, find support, gather resources, and ask questions. I want us to individually and collectively stand for one another, fight for one another so that we can make a difference towards health. Towards safety. Towards equality.
If you’re looking for a way to be a part of the change – please consider purchasing from our PPE and #BlackLivesMatter lines. Support local black businesses (if you’re an owner of one, or know of one, please share in the comments!). Protest, if you can safely. Write to your politicians. Donate to organizations that contribute to protest bail outs, medical needs, families that need to make untimely funeral arrangements and more. Be a vessel of change in the office, or in your local community. Be a listening ear to those in need.
Take it day by day. Take care of yourself. Find ways to contribute to taking care of the community. Let’s go!