My name is Lattiesha Dark but I go by "Lala" and if I'm being honest this is very hard for me to do because its very hard for me to ask for help from anyone. I am used to being a suffering in silence type of person however suffering in silence at this point will more than likely lead to worse mental health issues and/or possible homelessness. Basically, I, like many other Americans, are suffering at the hands of an unjust and unethical system in the midst of a panaramic (gotta laugh to keep from crying, right?).
Where do I begin?
I am a loving, hardworking and valuable social justice advocate with dreams and goals in life of becoming a Business woman. I had planned to attend a Master's of Business Administration program in North Carolina within the next few years however I needed at least three years of field experience in order to be eligible to apply. Fast forward, those dreams and goals were interrupted when I was fired from my job of 10 months. In December of 2019, I began working for a privately owned transportation company but, little did I know, I would suffer from daily words and acts of microaggression, blatant racism, ageism, sexism, fatphobia, and homophobia (transphobia included). In October of 2019
Every day I had to be uncomfortable for myself and others, yet I stood up for what I believed in and what was right and it cost me many unnecessary company write ups (For example, at this company, we were encouraged to speed to transfer and trade cars to other locations within the area in which we worked and I told one of our employees that I did not feel comfortable and did not prefer driving a red car due to possible racial profiling with paranoia of police brutality), I suffered from ostracizing remarks (I was told by management that I created a hostile environment for EVERYONE because I decided to stay away from the people who had continuously made homophobic, fatphobic, and racist remarks about and around me), slurs (I was told by a manager that it was okay to say "NIGGA" as long as it did not have the "hard ER" at the end), and me attempting to educate them all while being outnumbered eventually led to me putting in a letter of resignation. I had reached my breaking point and my mental health was suffering. So, I put in a letter of resignation on October 17, 2020 and stated that my last day would be November 27, 2020 to give me time to find another job and to help them find a suitable replacement.
On October 19, 2020, I received a call from the head of Human Resources and was given an exit interview via phone call. It was very weird because normally, at this place of work, an exit interview happens in person and closer to the resignation date. The next day, October 20, 2020, I was given voluntary termination papers. I was instructed by my mentors not to sign these as the company could try to let me go as soon as they received that paperwork back. So, I let my manager know that I would return the papers soon instead of that day.
The following Monday, October 26, 2020, I received a call from the head of HR again during my work shift and he lets me know that my last day would be that following Saturday, October 31, 2020 and I was confused. I redirected him back to my resignation letter and emailed him a copy. I had suspicions that they were trying to fire me. Later on that day at the end of the work day, he and upper level management called me to let me know that they had emailed me letting me know that instead of October 31, 2020 being my last day, now they had changed it to that day October 26, 2020. With Virginia being an "at will" state, they let me go less than two weeks after I submitted my letter with no explanation as to why. This left me thinking it was a retaliatory termination and now I had been out of a job. In retrospect, I had been one of the lucky and blessed individuals that did not get furloughed from my company after COVID-19 surfaced specifically because I was a top performer and they saw promotability in me. In fact, I was up for promotion the week before my termination but had decided not to continue with the company because of my declining mental health and I did not want to waste their time or mine.
Immediately, as any other person in my situation, I applied for unemployment. To this day, December 17, 2020, I have yet to receive anything from the VEC. After countless weeks of trying to get in touch with the unemployment commission, I finally spoke with a VEC representative on December 16, 2020 and he let me know that it wouldn't be until June of 2021 that I could POSSIBLY get the unemployment benefits since my previous employer would have to approve. I also decided to take legal action, however I was not able to find an employment or pro bono lawyer because I didn't have concrete evidence of discrimination in the workplace. It'd be a case of my Black, woman, and Queer words against their words where this is a multimillion dollar company with some of the best lawyers in the country.
If it is not clear, this money would be going STRICTLY toward bills for the months of November, December, and January. I have been out of work now for almost two months so I'm delinquent on these things and do not want to face eviction and repossession.
Well if you've made it this far, I'd like to thank you for reading first such a long winded post. I am currently still applying to jobs in hopes of helping my own situation (so far its been 50). Even if you can not donate money, I would also love some words of encouragement, advice, or even possible job opportunities in Virginia that suit an upcoming and culturally competent, Business Professional. Again, thank you for your time and consideration. I am beyond grateful and appreciative.
If you'd prefer a different outlet, here are other accounts:
- Raquel Sheriff
- Adaoma Okafor
- Kaya Giwa
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