That’s the number that stopped me at 13 minutes and 27 seconds into recording this podcast. It made me pause and ask, Did you say 86?  Yes, she said 86. My friend and activist, Afrika Porter has lost 86 people to COVID-19.

Staggering. Soul crushing. Unfair.

Afrika is known as “the woman who is everywhere” so she knows a lot of people. But I know a lot of people too and my number is 2. We were literally a case study.

In doing my research I found that black people account for 25 percent of those who have tested positive and 39 percent of the COVID-related deaths, while making up just 15 percent of the general population. Hearing the number 86 made this story very real. Like textbook real.

While I was trying to grapple with this horrific fact, I felt myself becoming even more grateful Afrika accepted my invitation to talk to me about solutions. Anything to close this inequitable gap.

No one person can solve the pandemics we are experiencing, but Afrika has a pulse on our city (Chicago) and the black community, so I’m with Afrika, affectionately known as “Af.” Af’s got you and #weareourownsolutions are Afrika’s mantras because helping people is in her blood.

The daughter of a pastor and an educator, Afrika was raised to help others. “If you’re hungry I’m gonna feed you!” she bellows, and you don’t doubt her. Not even for a second. 


I hope you will listen to Speaking of Solutions with Afrika Porter, CEO of Afrika Enterprises, because the ripple effect is real. We can all do so much to reduce inequities and dismantle systemic racism – speaking up, a smile, being counted.

And of course, Af and I discover we are more alike than we are unalike, which is why these conversations are so important – bringing us all more love, acceptance, support, bravery, purpose and maybe even some solutions.

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