Our xoTribe Members Sound Off On Doing Life While Social Distancing

Here are some ways a few of our xoTribe Members are dealing with the pandemic pressure.

Human Interest

If there was ever a better time to blast Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On", mind your business and drink your water, now would probably be it. With the news of "the 'Rona" running rampant across the country, life as we know it is shifting hard and shifting fast. And in light of major sporting events, musical concerts, giant festivals, mega movie premieres and even the ultimate Girls' Night In being affected, some may be wondering: just WHERE are we supposed to go and just HOW are we supposed to handle this?

Well, whether you choose to sage and meditate, enjoy all your fave quarantine snacks and watch Netflix, or sip wine and twerk to Meg Thee Stallion in the mirror, there are numerous ways to cope and get a handle on your anxiety during these trying and uncertain times. And if you haven't quite found what works for you just yet but you're tired of coronavirus upsetting you and your homegirl, check out some of the ways a few of our xoTribe Members are dealing with the pandemic pressure.

Savannah Taider

Age: 24

Occupation: Freelance writer & assistant

Where were you when you first heard about coronavirus/COVID-19?

"I first heard about it in early January. I was visiting a friend in Atlanta and I remember him standing in front of the TV watching the news. He briefly joked about the virus but I honestly didn't pay attention to what was going on. I absolutely hate watching the news and discussing it isn't really my cup of tea. I want to talk about positive things."

Are you self-quarantining?

"I am but that's because I'm a homebody. Ironically though, I live in Belgium and now that the whole country is forced to quarantine, I suddenly feel the urge to go out and party. All jokes aside, things are getting pretty serious and everyone is freaking out here. Almost all stores are closed, some people are forced to work from home, so I'd rather be social distancing until the situation is resolved."

Are you able to work from home?

"I am, thankfully! But truth be told, I'm taking advantage of this crisis to rest and work on my new book."

What's your quarantine self-care routine to alleviate stress?

"My curtains and windows fully opened to let the fresh air in, a long hot shower to relax my muscles, a lot of naps, books and binge-watching my favorite TV show (Jane the Virgin). I'm also trying my best to avoid social media. I had enough of COVID-19 already."

What's on your "Quarantine Self-Care" playlist?

"Vedo - 'You Got It', Phony Ppl ft. Megan Thee Stallion - 'Fkn Around', and ocean sounds. I've been listening to a lot of ocean sounds. It helps me relax."

Quwana M.

Age: 37

Occupation: Admission specialist, Higher Education

Where were you when you first heard about Coronavirus/COVID-19?

"I think I was at work when I first heard of pandemic originally [detected in] China."

Are you self-quarantining?

"Yes. I'm self quarantining."

Are you able to work from home?

"Yes. I'm working from home and hate it."

What's your quarantine self-care routine to alleviate stress?

"I don't have a stress reliever quarantine routine. But I'm in dire need of something, my anxiety is through the roof. The uncertainty of tomorrow is real!"

What's on your "Quarantine Self-Care" playlist?

"Podcasts are my go-to heavily this week. Expeditiously, Earn your Leisure, and xoNecole Happy Hour."

Teisha Leshea

Courtesy of Teisha Leshea

Age: 33

Occupation: Claims Processor for a children's hospital

Where were you when you first heard about coronavirus/COVID-19?

"I've been hearing about this since last December. I didn't really think anything of it so I was probably living my life as normal. With the 24-hr news cycle, days can run together. I was probably at home."

Are you self-quarantining?

"No, I'm an introvert so my life isn't different from three weeks ago. I've always had healthy hygiene habits but as of late I've been disinfecting and wiping down everything even more."

Are you able to work from home?


What's your quarantine self-care routine to alleviate stress?

"Setting boundaries and not allowing my mind to be engulfed in the wrong information."

What's on your "Quarantine Self-Care" playlist?

"Nipsey Hussle, Summer Walker, Ari Lennox and of course xoHappy Hour podcast."

Courtney Clardy

Age: 29

Occupation: Counselor/Therapist (Social Worker)

Where were you when you first heard about Coronavirus/COVID-19?

"I reside in Nashville, TN and the day before, I heard about a case of COVID-19 being in a surrounding county. My county, as well as others, were affected by a very vicious tornado. I was at home when I saw the news about the case via social media. I will admit that I heard about it vaguely way before it hit the US but never paid much attention to it."

Are you self-quarantining?

"I am, in variations. I currently provide therapy services in a shelter to women and children who are survivors of domestic violence, sex trafficking, etc. However, I've found balance in going to work, staying home, and being socially engaged. Social engagements are very slim during this time. So I'm mainly home and at work, however, that is mainly my everyday routine."

Are you able to work from home?

"At this time, I'm expected to report to work until further notice."

What's your quarantine self-care routine to alleviate stress?

"When I am able to self-quarantine, I spend time talking to friends and family, binge-watching Hulu/Netflix, prayer, meditation, and affirmations. I also give myself the space to go out if I feel led to. For example, I went to dinner with friends yesterday to celebrate a birthday. Finding this balance and honoring myself in the balance allows me not to be overwhelmed by worry or fear."

What's on your "Quarantine Self-Care" playlist?

"It depends on my mood. It can range from worship music, R&B vibes, or Meg Thee Stallion ratchet."

Dayana Preval 

Age: 26

Occupation: Healthcare, but my passion is in content creating.

Where were you when you first heard about Coronavirus/COVID-19?

"I don't remember exactly where I was, but most likely I was at home scrolling on social media. It became more serious to me when I went to work and people started testing positive for the virus."

Are you self-quarantining?

"I still have to work, but I am off four days a week due to my schedule. For the most part, I stay home and only leave the house for small things where I know there won't be a lot of people."

Are you able to work from home?

"No, I'm unable to work from home."

What's your quarantine self-care routine to alleviate stress?

"Honestly, I don't think I really created a self-care routine during this time. If anything, I'm stressed and trying to remain positive because there's a lot of transformations happening in my life. And this virus has put a halt on the world."

What's on your "Quarantine Self-Care" playlist?

"I've been keeping busy with creating, so I've mainly been listening to Jhene Aiko's latest album and The Photograph soundtrack."

Longing for a sense of community in the midst of social distancing and self-quarantining, click here to learn more about how you can join our new xoTribe Members Community app today!

Featured image by Shutterstock

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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