Storm is a young Black woman who identifies as queer. She is mentally unwell. She does not have access to therapy or other mental health services. Living in Florida, she has a very hard time accessing therapy or other mental health services. The state ranks 50th in per capita spending for mental health services, and 44th for access to mental health services. Read more here.
In May of 2021, she decided to take a trip to visit a friend whose space she feels safe in. In the space she rents, she does not feel safe. She experiences microaggresions, racism, fatphobia, anxiety centered around walking alone in her neighborhood (neighbors asking her if she lives there, strange looks, confederate and Trump flags in yards).
The woman living in the home repeatedly says things to her like: “You need to get a job!” “Wow you’re actually moving!” and talks loudly to her partner saying things like: “The Blacks act like…” and says to Storm (who is Jamaican) “The Jamaicans were so rude to me.”
Storm feels afraid to leave her room and to leave the house, and her anxiety and depression have been growing worse and worse. However, as a Black woman coming from an unstable upbringing, she values and needs housing security, and has felt too scared to leave.
A few weeks ago Storm couldn’t take it anymore. Her rent was paid and she left.
The woman who she rents from texted her asking where she was. Storm answered that she had an emergency and that she would be back in a couple of weeks.
Each day, the woman would not stop calling and texting Storm. She continued to hassle Storm for more details.
Storm sent her cousin to pick up her dog, notifying the woman that her cousin was coming. The woman said that she felt “unsafe” with an “unknown” “strange” person in her house, and called a security officer to detain her. Apparently, a family member of Storm’s who Storm has given permission and notice to be there is “unknown,” “strange,” and warrants intervention.
Fortunately, the officer would not, explaining that Storm is a resident in the house, and is allowed to invite anyone she would like to pick up her dog. Regardless, the experience was traumatizing for both Storm and her cousin.
An officer should never be called to detain a person of color.
The woman removed Storm’s name off of the gated community’s approved list of guests, despite Storm’s name being on her lease, and Storm’s rent being paid.
She then evicted Storm and Storm was notified that her possessions were removed from the home.
The woman has retaliated in these ways because Storm, an adult woman, did not tell the woman she was living with where was going. She has not broken her lease agreement in any way, but Storm has “hurt [her] very much” and “l[ied] to her.” However, if “[Storm] were to apologize,” this may help reverse the eviction.
Since she has not apologized the the woman for not telling her where she went, and the woman feels “betrayed and hurt,” the woman “doesn’t want [Storm] around anymore,” so she has evicted Storm.
This is violent, racist, ableist, and traumatizing.
Storm is scared.
Storm now has nowhere to live. She has been evicted and her rent money was not returned to her. She continues to received messages from the woman and her partner.
Storm is now having daily panic attacks and her fears over the past two years of losing her housing security have been realized.
We are pooling resources to set up a safer* space for her. We have a few different options for immediate apartment openings, food support, and free mental health support spaces.
Wayfinders, a program that confronts homelessness in Western Massachusetts writes:
“We believe the most difficult journeys start with a single step. Knowing that you have our support along the way does make a difference.”
If we can help Storm out of this space of abuse into a new one, with the knowledge that she is supported, the possibility of a new journey exists.
This does not mean it will be easy, or that Storm will be magically healed. Trauma lasts. This woman’s violence can never go away.
I have included links on this page to definitions of terms that some may not be familiar with- mental health and identity terms such as “queer,” “panic attack,” “anxiety,” “depression,” etc. that we can continue to learn about in community.
I have also included links to various articles that show how disability and race are inextricably linked. The relationship between Storm’s mental and physical wellbeing are directly affected by racism. The eviction exacerbates her mental unease. Florida’s systemic inaccessibility does not allow for a space of growth or healing for Storm. Her race and her abilities are not separate, but are directly affected and informed by each other.
We can support her and facilitate new spaces of love and allyship and resistance. It is crucial that we provide these tools to facilitate spaces of Else.
We are able to do that.
Please donate here.
Pictures and links to Storm have been disconnected to protect her right now.
You can leave a message for Storm here.
*No space is ever completely safe for a BIPOC.