Jinah Bryant is a member of the Board of Directors of Thurgood Marshall Academy and the parent of a Thurgood Marshall Academy junior.
If you had asked me months before the COVID vaccine became available, I would’ve said “I’m not doing that” right away, but then my perspective changed. I’m originally from Michigan. Early on in the pandemic, my community there was decimated. We lost family members and friends, young people and old. We were losing children. So when the vaccine came, I looked at my son Elijah and realized I had this child who had been doing everything he could to stay afloat during the pandemic. He had been so good. We were always in the house–we had zero tolerance for risk. So we sat down as a family and realized we needed to give him a chance to get out there and live a little. He’d spent an entire year and now going on two birthdays in this house. He was so worried about getting us sick.
So I did all the research I could and we talked to his doctor. Elijah told us he was willing to trust the science. I tell parents to listen to their kids and see what they want to do and what they’re comfortable with. Now I feel a level of comfort knowing he has this bubble around him. A little protection makes you feel better. Of course, you still have to be smart and safe and wear your mask. But when you get the vaccine you realize you were walking around before with so much anxiety about the virus. When you get vaccinated and your kids are vaccinated there’s a sense of relief. If we get our kids vaccinated they can have a homecoming dance. Parents can have a happy hour. There are things we can do to get back to normal and we all have to do our part. It’s normal to be afraid and cautious, but it’s courageous to move forward. That’s what’s going to make the difference.
When we get vaccinated, we’re not just doing it for ourselves. Thurgood Marshall Academy has a whole bunch of teachers and administrators who come in every day and work long hours to help our kids. Then they go home to their own kids and their parents and their spouses. We ask so much of our teachers, so we should do what we can to keep them safe.