Editor’s note: Across the country there are certain populations that resist the idea of getting vaccinated for COVID-19. This article aims to address that issue, specifically for the black population in Muncie.
By WaTasha Barnes Griffin—
So I did a thing.
I got the COVID-19 vaccine dose #1. Me. Well educated, informed, afraid, and adamant that I would not.
It took me a minute. Black and Brown folks distrust of the vaccination is fueled by a history of mistrust. BIPOC have legitimate reasons. Disparities in treatment received in the healthcare system, systemic racism, actions and experiments used to deceive us (Tuskegee), the “quick” production of the vaccine, a pandemic that sees us disproportionally affected, the horrible summer we endured surrounding the murdering of our people, and the civil unrest. Not to mention a contentious presidential election.
But after attending educational sessions, multiple conversations with IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital President, Jeff Bird, Open Door Health Services CEO, Bryan Ayars, and the Indiana Minority Health Coalition… I did it.
I did it for my Mama. I did it for my Grandma. I did it for marginalized communities where I engage, I did it for you. Leadership is not all glam and glitz. It calls for us to make some decisions that benefit others more than ourselves. It is tough and it can be scary and it ain’t all that it’s cracked up to be. Dr. King said it best, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”
My journey is my journey. I am not the poster child for the vaccine. I will not attempt to convince you to vaccinate. However, I am giving you permission to follow my story, call me crazy, look for side effects, and give you permission to ask me any questions (publicly or in private), that you might have.
I was shaking in my heels (for real). They monitored me for 15 minutes. They answered all of my questions. My right arm is sore and I had a slight headache. I will get dose #2 mid-February. So check out the video for yourself, or don’t.
Shout out to the Open Door staff. I also give photo/video credit to Open Door CEO Bryan Ayars. He was willing to accompany me. In fact, he was right there holding the camera for me too. Mask up and be well.
I plan to.
WaTasha Barnes Griffin is Chief Executive Officer of the YWCA of Central Indiana.