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Nine Black women sue nursing home alleging racism, racial violence

The lawsuit alleges racial violence took place at the Florala Health and Rehabilitation in Covington County.

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A lawsuit has been filed against an Alabama nursing home as nine Black women employees at the facility allege there is rampant racial abuse against them and the patients.

The lawsuit details the alleged racial violence that took place at the Florala Health and Rehabilitation in Covington County. The suit names the plaintiffs as Shekeya Thomas, Angelia Williams, Kierra Blue, Keonna Crittenden, Cassandra Westry, Chantel Mayes, Melissa Hobdy, Courtney Love and Michelle Carswell.

The lawsuit states that the, “plaintiffs each allege that they have been subjected to a racially discriminatory hostile environment that encompasses racial slurs by coworkers, racially tinged taunts andverbal abuse, and unequal enforcement of disciplinary rules.” 

The plaintiffs state that several of them have been called “n*****s” by their fellow white co-workers, compared to slaves or routinely endured racist comments about their hair. 

Several of the white co-workers named in the lawsuit who the plaintiffs say committed some of these actions include Tennace Rapager, Michael Drew, Annie Long, Madison Byed and Marilyn Fowler.

There is even one instance in which Crittenden claims that Rapager forceably grabbed her hair and called her “horsehead”. The plaintiffs also said the abuse came from many of the white patients who themselves made racist comments or attempted violence against the Black nurses.

However, the lawsuit details that for Black patients they were often subjected to the racism of the white workers. Thomas apparently learned that a 105-pound Black patient had been left naked on the floor by white employees for hours. She filed a complaint on behalf of the patient but was instead retaliated against by her supervisors and her her shift changed, making it harder to transport her children to school.

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The plaintiffs are being represented by Artur Davis and Brian Noble. Davis released a statement in support of his clients coming forward and detailing the racism they claim they experienced.

“If these women were not so courageous, what they experienced would have been soul crushing” said Davis.  “Florala Health and Rehabilitation and its parent company NHS Management knew about the racism and verbal violence but would not stop it; this suit is being brought to hold this company accountable for its indifference to hate.

Patrick Darrington is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected].

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