There's a group of pioneers taking COVID-19 to task in their perspective communities that you rarely hear about. Many of these women are in business for themselves and all are caretakers for the family.
Entrepreneur, Lisa Goshon is leading the charge by manufacturing the first "reusable" N95 surgical grade face mask, while Karen Scott, CEO of KNS Industries is moving essential goods like medical gloves and equipment across the country. Others are working directly with church leaders like Aramat Advisor, Sandra Sawyer helping to shape the conversation when it comes to how to worship safely. Missouri educator, Rhonda Raglon is managing the many challenges of virtual schooling and dealing with the issues surrounding inner city youth who are struggling with learn at home.
Then there's the financial impact. ODOS CEO and entrepreneur Lisa Riley is working directly with black female entrepreneurs to understand the process of government contracting and local funding. Diverting the billions of dollars that have been allocated to coronavirus initiatives is critical.
While each of these women have taken it upon themselves to take an active role in the pandemic, their work sometimes goes unnoticed by mainstream society. However, rather than wait for a handout or Washington politicians to take notice, these women are taking matters into their own hands and for good reason.
The African American community has been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus pandemic, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledging that long-standing discrimination in health care and housing plays a major role. COVID-19 death rates among Black Americans are 2.1 times higher than among white Americans and hospitalization rates are 4.7 times higher, according to the CDC. Reluctance to take a vaccine could compound an already deadly problem.
“This distrust is not unique to COVID,” explains Dr. Uché Blackstock, a Yahoo News Medical Contributor and CEO of Advancing Health Equity. “It’s preexisting, just like the health inequities are preexisting. And I think that what the pandemic did is sort of expose the distrust even further and more significantly because there’s more urgency to this issue.”
Blacks need adequate representation in this pandemic and particularly with the vaccine distribution. This is a monumental undertaking explains Lisa Goshon, President of LGI Branding Inc. but it's one we can overcome as long as black people continue to speak loudly and not sit idle.