Money Matters: Research Matters

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The Lighthouse | Black Girl Projects is turning 5!!!!! Since its beginning, The Lighthouse’s mission has been to be a revelatory, steady beacon of light for Black girls and women. To accomplish its mission, The Lighthouse has developed a wide number of programs and opportunities from leadership initiatives of college women to focused and intentional research. This last one is what I want to share about today.  

Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit worldwide, anxiety, isolation, unemployment, and food insecurity have risen for so many, especially for Black people and communities of color. That is the reason why The Lighthouse decided to identify the most pressing needs of Black girls and women in the south-eastern United States during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research began in the Jackson, Mississippi metro area, a tri-county area encompassing Hinds, Rankin, and Madison counties. The Lighthouse then expanded its research across the southeast to include states from Texas to Florida. The needs we identified since the outbreak of the pandemic are: 

Food insecurity 

  • Almost a tenth, 9%, of respondents experienced food insecurity.  
  • Around 1 in 4 respondents cut the size of, or skip, meals at least one day per week because they can’t afford enough food. 
  • Nearly 1 in 2 participants struggle to access fresh fruits and vegetables in their community.  

Mental Health 

  • 5% of our respondents need mental support during this time.
  • Because of increased isolation in the pandemic,12% of our respondents expressed the need for increased companionship during the pandemic. 
  • When asked about rest, 7% of our respondents said they needed a break or vacation. 
  • 1% of our respondents expressed a need for prayer, healthcare, and wellness. 

Economic concerns 

  • Of respondents with caregiving responsibilities, 5% said they need more support. 
  • 31% of respondents experienced financial instability. 
  • Nearly a quarter of respondents (23%) needed, but could not afford, cleaning supplies, masks, and other PPE 

Identifying these needs was the first step of our research. Our next step is to develop a Community Response Program that addresses these needs. We plan to develop this program in September.  

We hope to continue conducting purposeful research that impacts and serves Black girls and women so The Lighthouse can continue being a revelatory and steady, beacon of light in their lives.  

I look forward to meeting you back here next month with new economic topics to be discussed. If you have questions for me about economics, send an email to contributors@loveblackgirls.org and I’ll answer it!  

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