Gender: Male

Racial Inequity in the workforce.

When the pandemic hit, many more black employees in our workforce had to continue working at our group homes whereas most white employees were able to work from home. This resulted in a much higher rate of black employees contracting the virus versus white employees. Due to their circumstances and lack of access to educational opportunities, black employees hold most of the lowest paid positions at our company, while mostly white employees hold management or senior management positions.

Surprised by the Black Student Union

When I was in college, a friend and I were the co-organizers for a celebration to welcome our new college President. Me, my friend and the incoming President were White, and most of the coordinating committee were also White. The prior President was Black, and there was disappointment among some students that the new President was also not Black and hadn’t been overly supportive of racial and equity issues.. I thought I was relatively close to friends in the Black Student Union (BSU), as I had marched with them against Apartheid and other issues. But, on the day of the celebration, at the beginning of the event, about 20 BSU members entered the room with picket signs and loudly noted their disappointment with the new President. I was shocked and appalled, and felt betrayed by my “friends.” Years later, i came to understand that I had the advantage to host this celebration, and did not consider the needs of Black and other students. This event gave the BSU a space to have themselves heard, and they made the news the next day- not the positive story I had anticipated.

Lessons from the classroom

I would like to share an example that involves children to note that inequity often begins early on.

Many families in our own communities struggle everyday with virtual school, because they lack access to reliable internet connections, computer equipment, technical skills, adequate space or privacy in the home or simply having someone available to guide them through it. Other families do not have these limitations, and therefore their children are more likely to succeed. In some instances, children who are struggling may unfairly be labeled as difficult, disinterested or lazy. The playing field is simply not level.

At such a young age, these children are already experiencing the harsh reality of inequity.

Changed Systems

I came from very humble beginnings growing up in the hard of Boynton Beach. I experienced all the risk factors many young black men in similar communities face each day (Single parent household, juvenile delinquency, teen parent). The odds were stacked against me and I was able to maneuver through the systems and barriers and graduate high school and college. In spite of my success, graduating college and becoming a success story for the Department of Juvenile Justice, I was unable to gain employment with the agency because of my juvenile record. There were inequities in their systems which prevented individuals like myself from being a part of the agency. They have made changes and modifications to their process to allow individuals with backgrounds the opportunity to work for the agency considering they are of good moral character.

Inequity treating addictions

In trying to combat the opioid epidemic in 2017, I was confronted by a black friend who expressed his anger at the way the healthcare system, legal system, and local governments were now rallying to this cause, which he attributed to the impact on the white community. He was right. This was and is a glaring example of inequity. I considered all the partners involved in the effort to combat the epidemic, and I realized that almost none were black or Latino. Our previous attempts to combat substance use disorders and addictions had been largely punitive and enforced along racial lines. These biases and practices continue today in how we treat addiction and its community effects.

#715

I loved baseball as a kid and one of my earlier memories is of Hank Aaron hitting home run #715 and breaking Babe Ruth’s record. The way everyone in my immediate family huddled around the tv, it seemed like a really important moment, everyone waiting to see if this at bat would be the one. When he hit the ball out of the park, it was so exciting because he accomplished something everyone assumed was impossible. It felt like a really important moment. I found out from my dad that Hank got hate mail and death threats during his chase of the record. I remember thinking – what is wrong with people? Not only is that wrong, it’s so stupid. Who thinks like that? Within a few years I realized I had plenty of aunts, uncles, cousins who did. I still get Obama birther emails from an aunt.

Times call for buying a Gun

Through the year, I’ve been thinking about my home, safety, unrest, what I would do if someone broke in at night. I hadn’t shot or owned a gun in over 20 years but went to a concealed carry course the other day and am looking for a gun to put in a safe place in the house only I can access in case the worst happens.

My story (Story #NA)

When corona first started i had to start working 1 day a week because my store was slow, the only reason i was able to provide for me and my kids was because of my boyfriend lyfe , but on October 10, 2020 he was shot and killed , the person who killed him didn’t know lyfe it was wrong place wrong time , its been almost 2 months since then and now day by day i have to struggle to put food on the table for my kids or how im going to pay the bills . Before lyfe died i never had to pay a bill before . I got more hours at my job now but i’ve been looking for a second job but its really hard getting hired because of corona . The only thing i fear now is my kids thinking im a bad person because i can’t provide for them like how i use to.

#2020 (Story #88)

Something I’ve witnessed in 2020 is riots and people dying because of in COVID-19