Part Three: The Impact of COVID-19 on Black Women Essential Workers





Angela Downes


Query: What do we tell our young daughters about their place in the world as employees and workers during this time of COVID-19 as we watch them grow to be Black women? Why hasn't there been a greater evolution of Black women and their role as essential workers in American society? COVID-19 has shined a spotlight on the historical struggles of Black women as essential workers. Time continues to move, but the narrative has not.

Mine is a privileged existence. My family and I have the luxury to shelter in place. Once the country shut down and businesses began to shutter, I seamlessly began to teach law school classes online, my husband was able to stay home while a strategy was developed and implemented at the company where he works, and my child attended online classes. We had groceries and other essentials delivered and went for daily walks in our neighborhood--closely monitoring the news distressed by the rising number of deaths. My hardship centered on managing the number of Zoom calls that my husband, daughter, and I had each day. I know that mine is not the typical situation for so many Black women in America.

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The current situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to steadily deteriorate.  With the lack of a comprehensive coordinated federal response, individual states and cities scramble to ensure that the health and safety of their communities while navigating an uncertain economy.  In order to safeguard our communities, and especially Black women essential workers, we must work on promoting the following policies.