Empathizing with Black Women’s Experiences at the Intersections of Collective Trauma, Isolation, Anxiety, Depression, and HIV/AIDS amid a Global Pandemic: Narratives of Two Community Based Organization (CBO) Service Providers


  • Mattyna Stephens Texas A&M University, USA
  • Gwenetta Curry University of Edinburgh, UK
  • Stacey Stephens University of Maryland, USA




COVID-19, Community Based Organizations, HIV/AIDS, Black Women, Adult Educators


The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) emerged in the United States toward the close of 2019. CBOs were forced to either change their hours of operation or completely close their doors to avoid further widespread dissemination of the virus. The abrupt changes among CBOs posed some challenges for people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), especially Black women living with HIV/AIDS (BWLHA). For this reason, this study aimed to explore the impact of the global pandemic on BWLHA receiving services from CBO service providers. A qualitative inquiry was used to examine the narratives of two CBOs’ service providers (i.e., Narrators 1 and 2). Hill-Collins's (1990) Black Feminist Theory was utilized to frame the research. Three approaches to narrative analysis also were employed to analyze participants' stories. Such narratives helped to underscore the trauma experienced by BWLHA. The stories also reflected feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and depression among the women. Meditation and advocacy were forms of learning provided for the women. The participation in "sister circles" was recognized as a system of support. Implications for practice suggested that CBOs' service providers develop collective trauma care plans that are comprehensive, specific to client’s needs, and informed by adult learning principles to help BWLHA navigate trauma events. 


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Author Biographies

Mattyna Stephens, Texas A&M University, USA

Mattyna Stephens, Ph.D., is a Regional Health Care Planner for Brazos Valley Council of Governments. She teaches graduate-level courses at Texas A&M University. Her research streams include (1) Black grandmothers caring for their grandchildren in rural communities, (2) impact of the coronavirus on HIV/AIDS efforts for BWLHA, and (3) Black women aging with HIV/AIDS. Email: stephensmattyna@gmail.com

Gwenetta Curry, University of Edinburgh, UK

Gwenetta Curry, Ph.D., is a Lecturer of Race, Ethnicity, and Health at the University of Edinburgh. Her research interests include: (1) racial and ethnic health disparities, (2) Black family studies, and (3) Black male studies. Email: gwenetta.curry@ed.ac.uk

Stacey Stephens, University of Maryland, USA

Stacey Stephens, MSW, LCSW-C, is a Clinical Instructor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work and an Adjunct Professor at Morgan State University School of Social Work. Her primary research interests include (1) the health and well-being of vulnerable women, (2) children and families, (3) maternal and child health, (4) achieving health equity, and (5) community engagement. Email: sstephens@ssw.umaryland.edu.