Christina said she is now left to care for Poushawn’s young daughter Gabby and their elderly mother, who has been bed-ridden since 2017. The only time her mother has left the house since the pandemic started is to go to Poushawn’s funeral, Christina said.
“At the end of the day, my niece is 12 years old and she's left without a mother. My sister had no business COVID testing and being put in a position like that. Nothing is going to bring my sister back,” Christina told Blavity.
“We don't get anything. There's no phone calls, no ‘sorry for your loss.’ There's just, 'well here's two months of counseling.’ Do you think that we need two months of counseling? We’re going to need a lifetime of counseling. Her daughter is going to need a lifetime of counseling. She is without a mother. She’ll always be without her mother,” Christina explained to Blavity as she cried.
Because no autopsy was done, it is unknown whether Poushawn died of COVID-19. But Christina said the week before she died, Poushawn complained about not feeling well.
“The day before she died, she got off of work around 6:38 p.m. She called me as she got into the car. She said she was on her feet all day doing testing and she would give me a call when she got home. My sister went home, ate dinner and went to sleep,” Christina said.
“She woke up the next morning, got her daughter ready for school, took a nap and never woke back up,” she added.
Christina sent her son to go check on Poushawn after she did not answer her phone, and the young man found her unresponsive.
Christina leveled harsh criticism at Amazon for not hiring an outside company to conduct COVID-19 testing, noting the enormous profits the company has brought in since the pandemic started.
A Brookings Institute study showed in December that Amazon made nearly $6 billion in profit with Bezos himself seeing his personal wealth grow by $75.6 billion since last March.
“Amazon has enough money to bring in a whole fleet of doctors. Bezos has enough money to open up a small clinic. He has enough money to open up a place where they only test Amazon workers. Why did you have these workers in there testing? Were the testers getting COVID tested? She only got COVID tested once,” Christina said.
“I don't want anyone to forget about my sister. I want Jeff Bezos to know that he had a worker who worked for him till the day she died. She was nervous, she didn't want to work in that department. She had complaints, she sent emails to me saying it's not safe, about the warehouse not being clean, about the amount of COVID cases they had, about people coming to work with COVID,” Christina told Blavity.
In addition to the pain of losing her sister, Christina said Amazon lied about their response to her death and gave them nothing aside from the offer of counseling.
“My sister is gone and I don't even think they care. The facility lied and said that they had reached out to us and were helping us. Nobody has helped us. Nobody gave us a call, nobody gave us a dime. My mother hasn't even gotten a card,” Christina said.
She added that the warehouse still has employees without medical experience conducting COVID testing. Despite complaints from Poushawn and others working at the warehouse, those in charge refused to clean the facility at all.
Christina said she has received messages from others working at the warehouse who said managers there do believe Poushawn died of COVID-19 yet simply moved to offer the position to another Black woman working there.
The facility did not respond to requests for comment.
“I want Jeff Bezos to know that she was a young Black woman that had so much life left. That had a daughter. That worked hard. That never said no. She came in early and stayed late. This is a life lost. What's more precious and powerful than a life? There is no amount of money that can bring her back, but what about her daughter?” Christina said.
“I miss my sister every day. She was not my child but it was like I had her. From the time we were small, I took care of her until the end. I got her dressed for her funeral. The treatment from the company hurts. I want Jeff Bezos to know the pain and the hurt. It's unbearable pain. I'll never have my sister,” she added.
A GoFundMe has been set up to support Poushawn’s daughter.