On Sept. 9, the young women of the Womxn of Color Alliance (WOCA) gathered in a virtual group meeting to discuss the pressures of being a womxn of color in America. The term “womxn” is used as an alternative to the English spelling of women, inclusive to all identifying women such as trans women and women of color.
The host of the discussion, junior athletic training major Eliya Bravo, facilitated a discussion on how minority womxn navigate everyday life such as motherhood, sisterhood, school and work-life, all while dealing with generational trauma, mental health, racism and sexism.
After listening to their stories, Patrice H. Thatcher, a nurse, shared a couple of words to the women at the event.
“I think one of the biggest issues in our community is issues with mental health, especially depression. It’s not really talked about and I think most of the time it’s a cultural issue,” she said. “A lot of us have that spiritual affiliation with churches and so on and I feel, and have seen and experienced, that if you go to your parents and family members and tell them that you’re feeling down, it’s like a foreign concept… I think with the COVID-19 movement, it’s shining a light on people of color and mental health and it’s becoming more normalized.”
Womxn of color have historically been the pillars of cultural communities and because of this, mental wellness is so important. Many of the womxn of color at the event expressed that they are expected to be strong but the stress of everyday life can get tiring, especially on occasions when they are attacked not only for their gender, but for their ethnicity as well.
Womxn in WOCA are coming to realize that they don’t always have to be strong, and that it is okay to devote time to taking care of their mental health and overall well-being first. WOCA not only ensures a safe space for women of color but also advocates for mental wellness. It is important that their stories are heard and shared because their voices and lives matter.
Through practicing self-care and mental wellness, womxn of color in WOCA are rebelling in the best way possible. They are protecting and putting themselves first before a society that doesn’t seem to fight nearly as hard enough for them as others, especially for womxn like Breonna Taylor and Vanessa Guillen, whose families still yearn for justice.
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