Black Women On The Front Lines Of The Coronavirus

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Diane Chism is a lead dietary aide who works in the culinary department in a home for the elderly in New Jersey.

Black women on the front lines of the coronavirus

Source: Diane Chism / Courtesy of Diane Chism

MN: As a Black woman working in the care-giving industry, what were your initial thoughts when you heard about this virus?

DC: My mind has been wandering. I’ve been thinking about the elderly residents I support who could catch it and their family members who are always traveling  I also wonder if the staff would actually let us know if someone contracted the virus. It also makes me sad that elders wouldn’t be able to see their families.

MN: Are you fearful in any way of being exposed or do you believe your job has taken enough preventive measures/ precautions?

DC: I’m a little afraid of being exposed, but I’m trying to have faith. It’s very scary.

MN: When it comes to Black families and communities, Black women hold many customer facing positions and are seen as the backbone of the family. What are the concerns you have for Black women in this global health crisis as a collective, and what precautions have you taken to keep yourself safe/healthy?

DC: My concerns for Black woman in this industry has to do with the fact that most of us need money and most women will do anything for their families, but being close-up, taking care of the elderly makes me feel jaded and under appreciated. A majority of the workers aren’t white but a majority of the residents we care for are. Even we if we don’t like that fact, many of us need the money and wonder if the industry cares about us. I really don’t know.

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