The long-term effects of COVID-19 will not be known for years. It is a catastrophe of our own making. For Black women essential workers concerned with survival while still supporting their families, we must implement measures on all levels that ensure a rapid recovery while addressing systems of privilege and longstanding disparities. We are a nation of compassion, empathy, and grace, traits that should be incorporated in our response to the pandemic. Years from now, when archeologist explore and study the Black women of today, what will represent the cowrie shells? Angela had four cowrie shells - what will be the symbols that the archeologists of the future will find for the current essential Black women workers?

In spite of concerted efforts at achieving racial equality and eliminating the chasms that exist for African American women, the subordinate position of African American females persist. As we, African American female law professors, witnessed COVID-19's unprecedented rampage on the African American community, we felt compelled to speak up about these tragic circumstances. It is our desire to be the voice for the millions of women of color, domestically and globally, who have no voice in this conversation.

We hope that we have addressed issues and concerns that are pertinent to all women but especially women most negatively impacted by COVID-19. African American women are strong, resilient, and determined women who have struggled for centuries to lead healthy, whole, and financially secure lives. This is due, in large part, to the persistent effects of outright racism, which impacts all African Americans no matter what their socioeconomic status. While much of what has been discussed paints a grim picture, if our nation (and global community) makes real commitments to eradicating systemic racism, discrimination and inequities, significant gains can be made for those most negatively impacted. Equal pay for equal work, equitable economic opportunities, true educational advances, and equal access to quality health care must all be part and parcel of that effort.

We hope to chip away at multiple disparities facing Black women and bend the arc of justice towards those most marginalized, mistreated, and maligned. Fair and equitable policies are informed by all of America's citizens and all citizens in our global community. We eagerly await the day when our nation takes to heart the intrinsic value of all people by ensuring that we all can live a life that is free from the burdens and weight of discrimination and pervasive injustices.

Patricia A. Broussard is a Professor at Florida A&M University College of Law in Orlando, Florida. She teaches Constitutional Law, Women and the Law, First Amendment, and Advanced Appellate Advocacy. Her scholarship is in the area of women's rights.

Cheryl Taylor Page is a Visiting Professor at Florida A&M University College of Law. She teaches Criminal Law, Evidence, Criminal Procedure, Domestic Violence Law, Civil Rights, and Human Trafficking. Her scholarship is in the areas of human trafficking and human rights.

Angela Downes is a professor at UNT Dallas College of Law in Dallas, Texas where she is Assistant Director of Experiential Education. Professor Downes teaches clinical courses, the 40-hour mediation course, and domestic violence and the law. Her scholarship focuses on diversity and cultural responsiveness and issues of interpersonal violence including domestic violence, human trafficking, and child abuse.

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