This post was originally published on St. Louis American

By Sylvester Brown, Jr.

Marshata Caradine-Randall, an educator, and East St. Louis resident, hasn’t been in a classroom since September. That’s the month she contracted the coronavirus. It’s also when her husband, Tarlvin Randle, passed away three days after he was diagnosed.

Marshata, who’s been recovering, grieving, and trying to piece her and her two daughters’ (ages 14 and 15) lives back together, says she’s ready to get back to work. She described her job at Patrick Henry Elementary in St. Louis as an “individual care aid who advocates strongly for inner-city children.” 

The first part is official. The second part, advocating for urban youth, is her passion, especially during the pandemic.

“Somebody has to be in those buildings for our children who’s for real,” Marshata declared. COVID, she said, is just another not-so-subtle insult to the offspring of generational poverty or, as she calls it, “legislated poverty.”

“This is what it’s like to just be poor and Black in America,” Marshata said. “For those of us who’ve been legislated poverty, we deal with death all the time. My babies bring death into the classroom all the time, and nobody flinches an eyebrow. These babies lose their backbone, their support systems every day when all they want to do is come to school and be with their friends.”

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