By Helen O’Neal and Anastasia Grits, Staff Writers
// Elizabeth Brown, the director and case manager at the Housing Authority in Augusta, Ga., met with Acalanes High School students over Zoom on Wednesday, Feb. 17, and shared her experiences with racism and sexism.
As part of her job, Brown helps residents in need of finance or lifestyle support by finding resources like housing and free meal programs in hopes that they can become self-reliant in the future.
During the meeting, Brown explained that her job has become harder because of the pandemic.
“I’ve been dealing with families who already had [certain] issues, and now [there] is global competition because people who were once stable are no longer stable. So now trying to find those resources are even more difficult,” Brown said at the meeting.
Along with explaining the technical aspects of her job, Brown discussed her experiences with racism in the workforce.
“They know you’re capable and able to do the job, but they don’t want to give you the power in the title that matches your skillset and the pay,” Brown said.
In addition to her race limiting her job opportunities, it also affected how her coworkers treated her.
“[My executive director] is so much for women empowerment, but she said ‘I want to offer you this job without reservation because there will be people who are not used to being told no from someone like you,’ and I’m like, ‘well, you mean it was okay that I was a woman, but now there was gonna be a racial barrier because this is a rural community,’” Brown said.
Attendees found her experiences with race and gender educational and thought-provoking.
“Brown discussed how she has faced some difficulties throughout her career with being a Black woman in the work industry. She really made me think about how many stereotypes are enforced towards women, and how we should lift each other up, to overcome them,” sophomore Martha Burns said.
Brown’s stories and advice inspired many students at the meeting to change their own mindsets.
“I love hearing about people’s stories and experiences. It helps me learn and grow as a person and to think about others’ struggles and stories,” junior Stella Bobrowsky said.