Unofficial Instructions For Getting a COVID 19 Vaccine For Black Girls Like Me
This poem sees the nuances of Black girlhood in fight or flight against the rising death rates of Covid-19. It takes a pause to acknowledge the genocide of Black women at the hands of the medical industry, while acknowledging that something has to be done to protect Black women from this virus. It offers a heart to a painfully complex societal issue, while naming police brutality, poverty, anti-Blackness etc. as major factors in the death rates of Black folks in the US in addition to Covid-19. It honors us as living beings that have a difficult but valid relationship with the medical industry.
The United States has a long history of violent anti-Black medical racism, which has led many Black Americans to distrust the US healthcare system. The poet refers to the experiences of Henrietta Lacks when she writes, "What they will not say is IT’S IRONIC how Black women are often forced to trust the same system created out of our bones, our blood cells to keep the rest of the world alive." Elsewhere, the poet also distinguishes the vaccine from experiences of medical racism when she writes "This vaccine is not a weapon against Black folks, rather the lack of access & education is, Anti-Blackness is, Jim Crow is, Black codes, Eugenics, Capitalism, Misogynior, every system harvesting our brilliance in an attempt to create a world by us without us."
Write a poem in the form of a list of instructions for getting a COVID-19 vaccine for someone that feels hesitant. What are their concerns? What would they need in order to feel safe?