As black men are reporting experiences of racial profiling while wearing protective face coverings in an attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19, a local woman is making face masks that are more inclusive.
No Punching Bag fashion designer Angel Fant grew up in East Winston — a predominantly black community. Two of her children suffer from asthma which puts them at higher risk for severe illness should they contract COVID-19. She and her family wear facemasks whenever they leave their home, but they're alone. Fant says people of color express fears that homemade masks exacerbate discrimination and place blacks and Latinos in danger. So, she put her seamstress skills to work to bridge the gap.
"What we decided to do is something of a more natural tone," says Fant. "So, we have browns, tans, and then a lighter color. We have three shades available — different complexions. If something's more natural like with their face then it's not like, ‘Oh, I'm wearing a mask.' Especially from a distance, it looks like you don't have a mask on."
Last week, a group of senators demanded additional anti-bias training for law enforcement during the pandemic, prompted by concerns from the black community. The new skin-toned masks by No Punching Bag were released online Wednesday.