Now is actually a very exciting time to be alive. Fear and uncertainty might be taking over our world but I really do believe that underneath it all, this is a time of transformation for our planet.
It's not about the riots; it's about persistent injustice. Black people in America often have to accept racism, economic exclusion, and unequal access to healthcare. On top of that, we are more susceptible to death in the pandemic. Given all these oppressive factors, it should not be difficult to believe the anger surrounding the murder of George Floyd. There is video evidence of four officers' involvement, and they weren't even arrested. This was simply the tipping point for a community that couldn't take it anymore.
I live the pain and stress of being black in America every day: I am a black woman, the mother of a black son, sister to black men, and aunt to my black nephews. I remember what it was like as a young girl to be afraid to go to Howard Beach for fear of being chased out. I know what it's like to walk on Liberty Avenue and be called "nigga" and being so young that I didn't understand what the word meant, I had to ask my mother. I know too well that feeling in the pit of your stomach when a police car pulls up behind you and even though you know you haven't done anything wrong you fear that your life may be in danger from what should be a simple encounter. Like all African Americans, I am tired of this burden.
I'm writing this piece on a Thursday night, days after riots and protests erupted following the murder of George Floyd. Posting on social media didn't feel authentic to me. Protesting didn't feel enduring. For me, they both felt like actions that would temporarily make me feel good about myself without any real lasting impact.
It took days to write this because I needed time for the words to catch up with my emotions. Since then, I've had a number of people reach out to me, some with genuine concern for my mental state and others who seemed to be offering a "check the box" gesture. They were mostly all the same in content: "What can I do?" or "If you need to talk or vent, I'm here." Some even expressed how sorry they were for what I must be going through. The problem is, no one should feel sorry for me. No one should feel sorry for Black people.
Our brand all started because of our community. Each and every product and formula has been created alongside our co-creators. They help guide us to figure out what is missing from the market and help outline what people actually use. That's why our relationship with our community is so important to us at Alleyoop, they helped build our company in more ways than they may realize.
Aleece is a Urology Medical Advisor at Aeroflow Urology, and a board-certified physician assistant specializing in sexual medicine, women's health and urology. In 2019, she opened up her own private practice, the Fosnight Center for Sexual Health, and implemented the sexual health grand rounds curriculum at her local hospital and residency program. Aleece is also the founder of the Fosnight Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the education and training of professionals in the sexual health field and providing funding for access to healthcare services in her local community.
DeShuna Elisa Spencer is the Founder & CEO of kweliTV, which celebrates global black culture through curated, undiscovered and award-winning indie films, documentaries, web series, children’s programming and events. She’s a former radio host and producer of emPower Hour, a show that examined social justice issues affecting people of color, on Washington, DC’s 89.3 FM WPFW. A Memphis native, Spencer graduated from Jackson State University where she studied communications and journalism. She has written for The Clarion-Ledger, The Oakland Tribune and the Crisis Magazine. Before becoming an entrepreneur, Spencer served as Director of Communications for EdMarket where she ran the communications department and managed all media properties for the organization. A former AmeriCorps*VISTA and Chips Quinn Scholar, Spencer recently completed her first documentary, Mom Interrupted, which tackles gun violence through the stories of the ones most impacted—the mothers of murdered young black men and women. She is a Halcyon Incubator Fellow, a Voqal Fellow and a Google NexGen Policy Leader. Spencer was first place winner of the 2017 Harvard Business School African Business Conference Pitch Competition. In 2019, she was featured in “How We Fight White Supremacy” as one of the more than 60+ black leading organizers, artists, journalists, entrepreneurs, etc., (including Ta-Nehisi Coates & Tarana Burke) who offered wisdom on how to fight white supremacy through their work. She’s an advisory board member of Full Color Future and the Multicultural Media Correspondents Association.
Ariel Morgan is the co-founder of Maxine + Morgan, an innovative wellness brand devoted to aiding women in their quest to achieve healthier, happier menstrual and menopause cycles with OB/GYN formulated herbal blends. Ariel and Dr. Allen Morgan - her dad and business partner, got into the CBD space in 2017, and since then have focused on women's health. She has made it her mission to develop effective herbal supplements that will benefit women to combat issues they are struggling with on a monthly basis.