Is it even a surprise when racial injustice, inequity and dire health crises have been the lived experience of so many, even from birth? It’s been my life ever since I left the Caribbean for a global calling.
- I’ve lived this year over and over for 5 years now…and then came 2020. The world experienced a bit of what so many of us go through, and this time, there was no denying it. What was alarmingly new to so many – the pervasiveness of anti-black racism – was a year of reprieve for me since social distancing meant that I was no longer considered anti-social for withdrawing. Now, I didn’t actually have to go through the torment of interfacing with anyone. I can hide my hurt behind a mask since no one dares to make contact, not even to look up into a person’s eyes.
CONCLUSION: There’s no place where I am safe, no means of employment where I am valued as I am. So I hide. In a futile attempt to escape torture and protect my mental health.
Yet, I am reminded every chance they get – by ensuring that the international development work space allows me no reprieve. And so I suffer – with chronic pains arising from bullying that escalated into an attack while working at the World Bank Group’s Headquarters.
- Protected by privileges and immunities, they did not have to believe me, even with public displays of unwanted touching witnessed by many. I took my grievances to the internal justice system, and then the police, anyways. No consequences, as the international organization protected its long standing staff, even those guilty of harassment and sexual abuse over decades.
- So I learned that I was not safe in the global development network that builds its relevance by claiming moral rightness.
CONCLUSION: Their “Court” – determined that I did not suffer nearly enough to be treated with exception, and dismissed my case. Is it even a surprise that they thought they’ve won? But my story is now available with a simple google search for anyone else to find me. If you need help to get out of a similar situation, I’m here.
After years lost to disability, I ventured back to the familiarity of warm homelands, mistaken in my optimism. And so I suffer, again – attacked while working on a justice reform project for the European Union as an independent consultant.
- Protected by white privilege and his foreign passport, facts were only allegations even with his offensive displays before an audience. I took my grievances to the Consortium contractors, and the European Union Delegation anyways. No consequences, as the international network protected its like minded staff, even when their officer left me stranded on mission during the pandemic.
- So I learned that I was not safe in the global aid infrastructure that bills its value by claiming restitution for colonization.
CONCLUSION: Here again I’m being forced to defend my human rights to be treated with dignity, to gain fair benefit for my work, to not be harassed and to not be abandoned to die. Is it even a surprise that they thought they could force me to work unpaid through retaliation and physical threats? Thus the start of another fight with a major entity in a racist system. Let the games begin!