Alright, let’s first clear the air. Before I can start any blog about my life and adventures, I will first acknowledge the elephant in the room. The big ARTICLE, reaching over 1500 social media reposts within the first day, written and published by the New York Daily News - Sports reporter Michael O'Keeffe in April 2016. I was told by people around me, "Elicia you'll black-ball yourself," "Elicia this can ruin your career," "Elicia you are strong for doing this" and "Elicia will this impact your future?". I heard it all, I knew the risks of taking a public stance as a young BLACK FEMALE, and the impact it would have on me. Those risks at that time did not seem as important as my feelings and my voice that were being shunned and swept up under the rug. Just so that one successful company could benefit from it. I was suffering and will never be the same person again; purely for the gains of a multi-billion-dollar company. That was my biggest issue… to say the least. I had started to realize that because I was, one – black and two - a female, what was happening to me did not matter to them. These are two major factors that consistently work against members of our society.
September of 2015 was the beginning of an ongoing nightmare I had to live in. On December 5, 2015, I was harassed on my way home, by three drunken men who had just attended a boxing match at the Barclays Center. With the aggravation from stadium goers, to the constant stalking and harassment brought by the new developments construction workers, my childhood neighborhood became a legit scene out of nightmare on Elm Street. It was a hell hole that I felt trapped inside of. Walking outside of my building just to walk into strange men telling me to check my car window for the hearts they had drawn for me… It got pretty damn creepy. I just could not believe this was the same street I would hop and skip down as an 8-year-old with my neighborhood gang, with a double-dutch rope in hand, arguing about whose armpits were smelling that day. Yes, this was my reality, crowds of thousands of drunk fans crowding the residential neighborhood, 20 floor story high cranes and bull dozers, creepy and disrespectful construction workers, sounds of falling metal, construction sites every which way you turned, and OH! I cannot forget the atrocious parking!
Knowing my luck, the same day the article was released I had to go in for a project I'd been working on for the 2015 season at Madison Square Garden, Knicks game... if only you could walk in my shoes that day. I would not wish those feelings I felt on my worst enemy!
From September 2015 until even after the releasing of the article, the time had changed me FOREVER. Having to live day in and day out in a nightmare, and show up to work with a smile on my face like nothing was going on. No one knew, until the article released, and then the other horrifying feelings came along. I was being questioned every second of the day and I would feel the awkwardness of the other persons thought “should I ask her about it?” You know the feeling, when you can tell that the other person knows but is trying to act as if they don’t… yea, what people call the “elephant in the room.” That elephant was in every room I walked into for months long after.
As time went on I would freak out more and more, did I just commit career suicide?! But why? Because I stood up for myself? Do females not have that right? Or do you have to choose career over your voice as a female? It wasn’t until my brother said to me “you know what Elicia, if a company doesn’t want to hire you for such a courageous act, than you don’t want to work for that company.” Literally a week later I received a phone call from a pretty big and well respected organization that was interested in me after seeing my resume, googling me, and finding the ARTICLE… who would’ve thought, my brother was right, it was actually doing some good out of all of that bad.
But the question to be asked is, did I face such treatment because I’m a black female? Black females are known to be the least respected females in this society, we’re hypersexualized, the most discriminated race, and can’t forget the sexist world we live in. It’s a thought that sits uncomfortably in the back of my mind all the time now. The way I was raised race/skin color wasn’t seen as difference in character. Having two older brothers, and working in a male dominated industry, I’d never thought these factors would mean I would have different life experiences as would a white male. That was the naïve me of course.
Guess what? I survived it ALL to tell my story! And don't worry future posts wont be as depressing... but this is what it's like to walk in my shoes, and see life through my lenses xx