Because we bear a disproportionate burden in terms of coronavirus incidence and severity during this pandemic, it is imperative for those of us from multiply marginalized communities, particularly individuals and families who are disabled, living with HIV, and/or BIPOC to be an integral part of all aspects of the COVID-19 response, including research, treatment, policy, and vaccine distribution. Many dedicated individuals have been working hard for nearly a year to save lives and mitigate the effects of COVID-19. However, community perspectives must be better amplified and more must be done to ensure that the disability and HIV communities, particularly (though not solely) those who are BIPOC, are adequately represented in this crucial research.
As such, I am reaching out to you all with my thoughts and feelings on this, as a Black disabled person with a neurodiverse, serodifferent family; you are welcome to review and share the following post:
*Disclaimer: this post contains identity first and person first language, and it also contains terminology (specifically, the phrase “special needs”) that is considered outdated and inaccurate by many in the disability community. Please accept my apology for any harmful and/or ableist implications my usage of the phrase might suggest; it was not and is not my intention to other nor to stigmatize disability. I am striving to purge the vestiges of various terms from my vocabulary in order to be more respectful and inclusive as I learn; thank you for your patience with my growing pains.
Morénike Giwa Onaiwu