Our amazing host and writer, Dot shares her experience as a Black woman working through a racial pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement

Written by: Dot McDonald – June 16th, 2020 5:38pm pst

Since January, things have felt like a complete nightmare. Losing Kobe Bryant, dealing with covid-19 and pushing through racial injustices. For the year 2020, it seems like we just can’t catch a break. However for some Americans, working through this time has been somewhat of an escape. It has kept them busy. And for even just a moment, it has allowed their minds to focus on something outside of our harsh reality. This is great, but for some workers, their workspace has been just another heartbreaking reminder that we are not all looked at as equal. 

For the past four years I have served as a Unit Director for the Boys and Girls Club of Burbank and Greater East valley. Things have always been a little crazy, but the past few months have been a complete circus. 

My job stayed open the entire Covid-19 pandemic. As the only African-American in a coordinating position, I felt a responsibility to prove my work ethic and commitment to the club. So, I volunteered to work. I was scared out of my mind everyday, but I comforted myself with reassuring thoughts that the company would find my decision honorable and I would gain more respect. 

This idea was forcefully ripped from my thoughts when George Floyd was murdered. My job did not meet with the staff about his death. We did not get instructions or training on how to hold conversations with our kids. There was not even the smallest gesture such as changing the marque outside to Black Lives Matter. Instead, we received an informal, neutral, generic text message. It felt like a slap in the face. 

As the only African-Amerian woman in my workspace, I felt alone. I was overlooked, undervalued and uncomfortable. My co-workers seemed to be walking on eggshells around me. They didn’t know what to say; therefore, they assumed saying nothing was best. Suddenly, requests felt like demands and coming into work was a task I had to mentally prepare for. I couldn’t focus. Were they intentionally not declaring Black Lives Matter? Did I really put my life at risk for a company who didn’t even see my life as valuable? Was I overreacting, and expecting too much?

As a diligent worker, you should never have to question if your life matters to your employer. It’s the employers responsibility to make sure that all their staff feel safe. Employers have to take the initiative to educate themselves and implement conversations and gestures to demonstrate that inclusivity is a priority, not an option.

Unfortunately, my story is nothing new. Black people are continuously expected to suppress their emotions and carry on with work even though our struggles are being disregarded. We need more employers to step up and make a difference, so that work environments can be healthy for everyone. 

About The Author:

Dot McDonald is an actress/producer from Madison, WI. She received her bachelors in Fine Arts with a concentrating in acting from Howard University. She’s recently been seen in commercials, shorts films and most recently Laff Mobbs Laff Tracks on TRU TV.

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