By Shauntionne Mosley, VISTA Community Impact Ambassador
An Administrative Assistant, a Development & Public Relations Manager, and a photographer walk into Old Walnut Plaza. All of them have skills and expertise that contribute to Old Walnut Plaza being the force it is today. All of them have the desire to create more opportunity within the Russell neighborhood and beyond. All of them are mothers who have been working during this global pandemic. According to the Library of Congress, Women’s History Month is about commemorating and encouraging the study, observance, and celebration of the vital role of women in American history. During COVID-19 no one has played a more vital role than those who have combated motherhood while also taking on one of the greatest times of crisis in American history.
LCCC is dedicated to assisting families and children. Our NTI Chrome Camp was established to not only guide children in the Russell neighborhood through this different form of learning, but to assist parents who are concerned about their children’s educational and social development.
“As a parent of a child who has special needs in the areas of social-emotional development, the impact of the pandemic has been significant. I worry that the seclusion that the pandemic requires will impact her in the long run. She misses interaction with her friends at school and CEP and would love to return to in-person school and after school services but she knows it is currently not safe. I think that the lack of social interaction for children as well as adults is one impact of the pandemic that we overlook.” says LCCC’s Administrative Assistant who will soon be welcoming a new addition to the family. Our Development and Public Relations Manager, whose elementary aged daughter sometimes does her NTI work alongside her mother at LCCC had the same sentiments about the lack of social engagement. “I love seeing her grow and develop in this intimate kind of setting, but she misses traditional school and I miss it for her.”
Almost 1 million mothers have left the workforce. Black mothers, Hispanic mothers, and single mothers have been the hardest hit. American mothers, even in two parent households have taken on additional duties in motherhood because of COVID-19 and lack of federal policy that would directly help mothers. How do they cope? The New York Times wanted to give mothers across the country the opportunity to scream it out; so they set up a sort of hotline. Hundreds of mothers responded with shouts, cries, and cursing. 70% of mothers have said that their mental health has been affected by COVID-19.
“Quiet time in the car without kids,” is how the Two Hearts Media photographer responded to our question on how she finds peace, “wine and audio books help too.” As a business owner, one could imagine the balancing act of work and motherhood. Add a devastating virus on top of that and the feat is even more amazing. Two Hearts Media is one of the many Black owned businesses that moved into Old Walnut Plaza during the pandemic. It’s a perfect example of the tenacity that women embody. Mother’s deserve so much more than one day or one month of recognition. Policies have changed, and the way life is as we knew it had to adapt to COVID-19.
In the future, I hope that we as a nation do more than just take surveys, set up hotlines, and be more open to children in the workplace.
“One of the biggest lessons learned from the pandemic is that we are equipped to handle change and that we can adjust to even huge life altering changes that impact every aspect of our lives.” says LCCC’s Administrative Assistant.