The world as we knew it was disrupted by COVID-19 in 2020. Our hearts grieve for the families, persons, well beings and dreams negatively altered by this global pandemic.
Although we colloquially adopted the notion that we live in a new reality, for many communities–particularly Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) communities– COVID amplified the structures which already existed. As a result, those who choose to lead and promote equitable vaccine access, distribution, and uptake must also take on the responsibility of understanding how we got here and the complex relational dynamics which influence health decisions and outcomes.
Motivated by the blueprint of relational organizers of color and recent movements which have combined truth with action, The Equity First Relational Playbook centers those closest to the impact of systemic oppression in the hopes that their experiences–both professional and lived–would inform how ongoing vaccination strategies are designed and administered. Some of our main objectives include:
- respecting and providing historical context to the current distrust and mistrust which exists between the research and medical arenas and BIPOC communities;
- present the lived experiences of those belonging to or working in communities most harmed by COVID;
- normalize the collection of lived experiences as valid data points;
- offer solutions, theories and perspectives innovated from those living and responding to intersectional realities.
All who share to this space are brave. And all who listen with humility are practicing an essential component of problem-solving through an equity lens. As such, we invite you to think about his these insights can inform your practice:
- Take the time to listen to varying lived experiences and different perspectives. What resonates with you? What excites you and why?What makes you feel uncomfortable and why?
- Combat inclinations/proclivities to undermine or disprove one’s lived experiences. In fact, challenge yourself to see what’s shared as “truth” even before you listen. Accept that each contributor is sharing exactly what’s needed for us to ensure all who should get the vaccine…can.
- Observe the way communities interact with each other. How are relationships being built, even between strangers? How are people being affirmed? What beautiful nuggets are emerging when people are given the chance to just share?
- Reflect on how this informs your practice moving forward. How can we use what is shared to inform research, policy, communications, funding and decision making?
And we invite you to share how we can add more value to this site. Please share topics, questions, recommended experts and reflections our way so we can co-build this space.