Our Stories

Our stories are diverse, but each is a reflection of our shared struggles and concerns as we navigate life during the COVID-19 pandemic. With Here for Us, we amplify that message. Mothers, fathers, singers, doctors...we all share our truths in hopes that our voices reach the communities we love – communities built to always rise together.

Marquise is the proud owner of Quise101 barbershop in downtown Tacoma.Talking to his customers is part of his daily routine, but misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine found its way into casual conversations that made him hesitant. After doing his own research and asking the right questions, Quise now calls himself a counselor at his shop, and he has helped others make the decision to get their vaccine too.

Dr. Webster is the Racial Equity Project Manager for Seattle Public Schools and founder of Black Boy Heal. For him, education and mental health are priorities, which is why waiting for all the most accurate data was important in order to feel comfortable getting his COVID-19 vaccine. Once the vaccine got FDA approval, his hesitation turned into a sense of security.

Tommie is a non-binary, black-identifying student at UW. When the COVID-19 vaccine came out, they couldn’t help but feel distrustful. They know hetero ideals of health have caused harm to some communities in the past, but that didn’t stop them from reaching out to other queer black creators and UW peers for science-based advice. Now, they lend their voice to raise vaccine awareness among QPOC folks.

Lydia works in Customer Service for TomboyX in Seattle, WA.

She was extremely hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine for many reasons including her religion, feeling there were not enough facts to support getting the shot, and the pressure she was feeling to get it.

Lydia felt it was developed too quickly, and hadn’t seen vaccines help cure other diseases that impact her community like diabetes and HIV. She also didn’t believe that people who couldn’t access health care and health coverage could actually get a vaccine for free. This also made her daughter hesitant.

Lydia ultimately decided to get the vaccine because of her elders (specifically her grandmother). She wanted to make sure she wasn’t the one to get her family sick. She feels good knowing she is protecting her loved ones, which encouraged her daughter to get vaccinated too.

Korey is a Tacoma School Board elected official who also serves as the Program Manager of King County’s Youth Source program for GED and High School completion.

Korey was hesitant about the COVID-19 vaccine. He was hearing it was an experiment, and that it would affect reproductive organs. He decided to wait and see how it affected others.

He then decided to get vaccinated because he wanted to protect his grandmothers (both had caught COVID-19), and the prospect of a long-term illness scared him (Korey had been intubated during a previous heart surgery).

When he got his vaccine, Korey saw it was truly a community-wide effort with a room full of people who looked like him. That was when he trusted it was the best thing to do to get all of us to move forward.

Tatyana is a Communications Specialist for Boeing.

Tatyana wasn’t hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine until she starting hearing hesitation from members of her communities. As a Black and Filipino woman from Hawaii, a common theme she was hearing about was mistrust of the government. The community believes the government is behind the production of the vaccine not the scientific community.

Tatyana got vaccinated because she started researching credible sources, and only accepted and listened to information from those sources who were knowledgeable (i.e. friends in the medical field, doctors and nurses on the front line).

Post vaccine, Tatyana’s communications background has taught her to steer the hesitancy conversation in a positive direction by asking questions that will help people decide on their own.

Kiana is a transit equity and disability rights advocate who works at both UW and the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT).

Kiana was hesitant to get vaccinated because there was not enough data on how the vaccine might affect people of color.

Also, the fact that the vaccine became politicized did not sit well with her. In the past, Kiana’s aunt did not have access to the Polio vaccine, which led to lifelong complications. Knowing this, Kiana decided to get the vaccine because she saw the hurt her family went through.

Kiana also made the decision because she saw how disproportionately COVID-19 was affecting people of color. The decision to not get vaccinated had (and has) a wide range of consequences for everyone in the community, not just the person not getting the vaccine. As Kiana said, “It made getting vaccinated not just about me first but community first.”

Dr. McRae believes in homeopathic medicine and always has after living in Ghana for 10 years. When she first heard about the COVID -19 vaccine she was not a cheerleader for it. She was extremely hesitant as a Black woman who did not want her body mistreated by Western medicine. She was concerned about how this vaccine could be good for anyone. As the media highlighted all the different options that were presented for the COVID-19 vaccine, she didn’t see a space to ask questions to calm her concerns and hesitancy.

Dr. McRae spent time seeking out information from trusted neurologists, physicians, and other healthcare professionals that were in her community. She also attended forums hosted by HBCU’s and Dr. Danielson, a physician at the University of Washington, who she said has dedicated his practice to the lives of black and brown children. Equipped with proper knowledge, Dr. McRae received the vaccine. Once vaccinated, she became an advocate outside of her job, where she helped schedule vaccinations in 24 hours for 150 Black/African Americans who did not have access to the COVID-19 vaccine. She is committed to assisting communities of color in getting vaccinated.

Additional Stories

Tyler Lockett’s Story

J.B.’s Story