Black Women, Systemic Barriers and COVID-19 Project Solution Circles

Spark authentic dialogue. Demand accountability. Report equitable solutions.

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 In the “Black Women, Systemic Barriers and COVID-19” solution circles, we learn from Black women in counties across Mississippi about the deep-seated challenges the pandemic magnified in healthcare, education and violence in order to report their stories in deep historic and data-driven context. Our journalists then take those county-level discoveries and report them through a solutions-journalism lens, seeking actions that can work in counties across Mississippi. For the sake of this project, all participants were Black women of various ages, professions and backgrounds.

“I’ve worked too hard and fought too long not to make sure that I see my vote go into that machine,” Dr. Anderson said about voting in Nov. 2020. “We were back and forth and back and forth (within) my age group. So, I didn't go vote absentee. I actually went and stood in line at my precinct.”
Dr. Corinne W. Anderson
Dr. Corinne W. Anderson
Co-Founder/Co-Coordinator Sisters Taking Action and Nurturing Decision Makers

Takeaway Solutions:​​

  • Black women felt unheard, unprotected and forced into silence during pandemic
  • Publish more vetted voting and civic education resources
  • communities need to utilize organizations already in place, then delegate a task to each organization 
  • A living wage for all citizens
  • Affordable, accessible and adequate healthcare including mental health services
  • expand Medicaid in Mississippi
  • Train more doulas and midwives to increase resources for mothers 
  • Community education around policy, women advocacy, healthcare options and various types of providers 
  • Mental health care/counseling for the families affected during the pandemic
  • Create a health care advocacy hotline for Black women
  • community control over their own healthcare clinics 
  • more transportation resources in underserved rural areas
  • Create more Black doctors/medical professionals
  • Solutions should be community-based, not cookie cutter
  • improve broadband access/phone connectivity in rural communities
“I do see more mothers who are extremely apprehensive about going into the hospitals to give birth,” Dr. Burse stated when asked about exacerbated healthcare disparities during COVID. “We’re used to having 2 people there—I know in my family, everybody goes to the hospital just to sit in the waiting room, you know, when you’re having a baby. And none of that can happen. Even when it does happen, Black women die.”
Dr. Nekeitra L. Burse
Dr. Nekeitra L. Burse
Founder of Six Dimensions

Next Event:

“I’m just really frustrated by the lack of leadership I’ve seen throughout the pandemic,” Dr. Melvin said about the onset of the pandemic. ”It didn’t have to be this bad, but we’re here. What are we going to do as a community?”
Sandra Melvin with short hair and a white collared shirt
Sandra Melvin
CEO, Institute for the Advancement of Minority Health