Women Of Color

In ZORA. More on Medium.

If it’s not one thing, it’s another.

Ortho-phthalates, or just plain phthalates as they are often called, are found in many products across food, medical supplies, toys, and cosmetics. Basically, they’re in homes across the country. As ubiquitous as they are, phthalates are also dangerous.

As Drew Costley points out in a recent Future Human story, phthalates are neurotoxins that have been linked to learning, attention, and behavioral disorders in children. They are also harmful to women. Costley also notes, “these exposures aren’t equally felt. A 2017 study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that women…


Bestselling authors R.O. Kwon and Roxane Gay discuss their new work

Photo illustration; Image sources: Simon & Schuster, Reginald Cunningham, Smeeta Mahanti

Kink, a new anthology of fiction edited by R.O. Kwon and Garth Greenwell, explores the world of sexual desire in a way not often seen in literary fiction. Some of today’s most talented and acclaimed writers, such as Roxane Gay, Melissa Febos, and Carmen Maria Machado, delve into topics of love, dominance, submission, BDSM, and more, with stories about women, people of color, and queerness as it relates to sex and desire. The book gives voice to these characters in a way that breaks the boundaries of taboo, celebrating sexuality in both daring and moving ways.

In a time of…


Illustrations: Dani Pendergast

Astrology that centers women of color: June 15–June 21, 2020

As the week begins, we entertain the notions of war brewing under the surface. There is a challenge to evaluate our morality, review our beliefs, and examine the causes for which we are fighting. It is time for us to divest from delusions and be willing to (un)learn while we grow on these new battlefields.

As the moon enters Taurus on Tuesday, we could be feeling the weight of our needs and emotions. Taurus rules banks, currency, money, finance, and culture. We will be revisiting our conversations on the state of the economy and Covid-19-related deferments as they begin to…


It’s our one-year anniversary! Here’s a sampling of the content we’ve created for you

Photo Illustration; Source Credit: oxygen/Getty Images

Our namesake, the prolific Zora Neale Hurston, did and lived as she pleased, unapologetically. In that spirit, ZORA magazine was born and now celebrates our first anniversary. Over the last year we’ve featured stories ranging from personal essays and newsworthy opinion pieces to interviews with some of your favorite women of color, always with you in mind. Here we’ve collected some pieces we love, and we hope that they have brought you light and learnings. Which stories were your faves?

Black Women Are the Adults In the Room

Recommended by Vanessa K. De Luca, Editor-in-Chief

Humorist and best-selling author Luvvie Ajayi Jones brought her own special mix of…


Women of color in the sandwich generation share their stories of straddling two worlds at the same time

An illustration of a black woman on the phone with her elderly father, while her young daughter is in the background.
An illustration of a black woman on the phone with her elderly father, while her young daughter is in the background.
Illustrations: Carmen Deñó

What started as a typical family vacation for Priya Linson quickly took an unexpected turn. Just days after arriving at Grand Cayman for her parents’ 60th birthday celebration, the family was poolside and taking in the warmth of the sun when Linson noticed her mother, Madhu Luthra, was having memory issues.

“It was a surreal time,” says Linson, chief of staff at an education nonprofit, adding that the 2010 trip included her husband, sister, and brother-in-law. “At first we thought it was stress because her dad had died earlier that year. …


Dr. Cwanza Pinckney, an ER doctor in Houston, offers tips on how to champion yourself in a pandemic

A photo of a black female doctor helping an older black woman with medical charts at a hospital.
A photo of a black female doctor helping an older black woman with medical charts at a hospital.
Photo: stockstudiox/Getty Images

In search for more insight on how to navigate the U.S. health care system during the coronavirus outbreak, ZORA spoke to Cwanza Pinckney, MD, a board-certified emergency medicine physician. Dr. Pinckney is currently treating patients who have the virus while working at several hospitals in the Houston, Texas, metro area.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

ZORA: There are directives on how and when to see a doctor if you are developing symptoms, but they aren’t always clear. When should you go to the emergency room?

Dr. Cwanza Pinckney: The coronavirus follows a typical pathway. It typically…


Feminism often doesn’t make room for those like me

An illustration of a gender non-conforming person meditating. There are three pop-up images of their face above.
An illustration of a gender non-conforming person meditating. There are three pop-up images of their face above.
Illustration: Geeta Lewis

On a stormy evening in Cape Town, four of my closest friends from university gathered at my house for dinner and tea. We sat in a circle on my bedroom floor, inhaling clouds of sandalwood from the incense stick that burned. They began to discuss divine femininity, women being more spiritually tapped in, and something about wombs. I couldn’t hear the details over my racing heart. Instantly, I felt my stomach turn. I didn’t want to create any tension or sever the connection they perceived us having by vocalizing my distress. Conversations like these always made me feel like an…


They built successful small businesses but now are forced to close their shops. Here’s how you can help.

A photo of a black woman getting her hair done by a woman of color at a hair salon.
A photo of a black woman getting her hair done by a woman of color at a hair salon.
Photo: Peathegee Inc/Getty Images

Celebrity nail tech Tacarra “Spifster” Sutton travels between New York City, Los Angeles, and Atlanta to do nails. And not just any old nails; the 31-year-old creates nail art for the likes of Megan Thee Stallion, Danielle Brooks, and Janelle Monáe. The week before Covid-19 took over the news cycle was the week she was busy applying stained glass nails and French tips. She’s been praying to God for the opportunity to “chisel out a week or two to focus on me and chill out.” She never imagined the coronavirus would be that reason.

She made the inevitable announcement around…


They say there’s not enough masks, a lack of contingency plans, and an inability to practice their skills properly

A photo of a tired black female nurse sitting in a hospital hallway chair.
A photo of a tired black female nurse sitting in a hospital hallway chair.
Photo: Fuse/Getty Images

With the shortage of health care professionals in light of Covid-19, women of color are feeling the brunt of this pandemic more than ever. On the one hand, they have endured great sacrifices to be where they are right now, but on the other, their lives are literally on the line and they cannot help but wonder if they will make it alive to the next day. Some of them wonder if all of their efforts even make a dent in what our nation is going through.

Shazia*, while working in the emergency room as a physician at McLaren Oakland…


A psychotherapist provides tips for how to remain balanced during this unprecedented time

A photo of a black woman listening to music on headphones in her kitchen. She is feeling herself.
A photo of a black woman listening to music on headphones in her kitchen. She is feeling herself.
Photo: Westend61/Getty Images

As a psychotherapist, I recognize the mental health costs that women of color pay with their mind and bodies every day due to experiences with racism, sexism, and trauma. We face compounded mental health costs given the recent Covid-19 pandemic. These current mental health costs may leave WOC feeling anxious, sad or depressed, lonely, stressed, and afraid.

Because cities and employers have begun implementing social distancing and quarantine measures, women of color’s mental wellness may be threatened as social isolation can lead to decreased mood and quality of life. Whether you’re living your best life and this pandemic has had…

ZORA

Bold, yet refined. A publication from Medium for Black women.

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