COVID-19 Safety Not Stigma: Marlon

Witnessing the ignorance and blatant racism the Asian American communities and African American communities have experienced during this time has been unbearable. It’s time for everyone to bring an end to racism. I hope that during this time of slow down, a new normal can emerge where we see each other as whole, beautiful humans, not just our skin colors.


After weeks of insisting people didn’t need to wear masks (and scoffing at mask-wearing by Asian cultures) health officials changed their tune early April and started advising mask-wearing in the US. Masks, research shows, actually do offer some protection. But for Black folks who constantly face the threat of racial profiling, covering their faces is no simple thing. Right away, reports emerged of Black people being targeted for wearing masks in public, from being escorted out of Walmart to handcuffed by the police. Marlon said friends and family in Detroit, where he’s from, have faced aggression for wearing black cloth face masks (the CDC recommends cloth face coverings). Marlon has one of the black masks too. He said he feels okay wearing it in Seattle but would not wear it back home. If mask-wearing becomes our new normal, there is real danger of continued racial incidents as virus restrictions are lifted and more people go back outside. That’s why normalizing images of people of color wearing masks now is critical. You can help by sharing. Thank you.

I am human
I am resilient
I am a survivor

I am listening
I am not finished yet!


Pictured: Marlon Brown is an equity consultant who specializes in leadership coaching, change agent mentoring, and organizational development, with an emphasis on facilitation, training, racial caucusing, policy development and implementation. Marlon also has over 20 years of professional experience working in healthcare, automotive and government organizations as an Information Technology Project Manager. 

COVID-19 Safety Not Stigma is a portrait campaign to help combat increased racism against people of color during COVID-19, raise awareness about the disproportionate impacts of coronavirus on communities of color, and prioritize safety instead of stigma by the public.

Safety notes: These photos were taken at safe distance outside using a 70-200mm telephoto zoom lens. I wore a mask and sanitized my equipment immediately following. Please remember the CDC recommends at least 6-ft or more of distance from those outside your family cluster.

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