The Death Gap: A 4-Part Series Exploring End-of-Life Inequality

The following articles are part of The Death Gap Series, a collaboration between The Order Of The Good Death and The Collective For Radical Death Studies. The series examines the various ways in which systemic racism impacts the way BIPOC communities experience death and access end-of-life care.


#MMIW: The Life and Death of Stolen Sisters by: Anna V. Bayona-Strauss

#MMIW: The Life and Death of Stolen Sisters by: Anna V. Bayona-Strauss

This article is part of The Death Gap Series, a collaboration between The Order Of The Good Death and The Collective For Radical Death Studies. The series examines the various ways in which systemic racism impacts the way BIPOC communities experience death and access end-of-life care. (CW: suicide, sexual assault, descriptions of graphic violence)  On July 3, 2017, in the Arizona portion of Diné Tribal Nation, the lands of a tribe often referred to by the exonym “Navajo,” the day was permeated by blinding sunshine and dry desert heat. Ariel Begay, a bright, witty 26-year-old Diné woman, was picked up from her family home by her boyfriend, ready to enjoy the golden days of summer; but her plans did not only extend to the simple joys of the season—Ariel had recently graduated from a medical assistant program, with the promising goal of becoming a nurse in the near future. The next afternoon was equally ordinary, when Ariel called her mother, Jacqueline, to inform her that she would try …
Nana’s Wig by: Erica Gerald Mason

Nana’s Wig by: Erica Gerald Mason

This article is part of The Death Gap Series, a collaboration between The Order Of The Good Death and The Collective For Radical Death Studies. The series examines the various ways in which systemic racism impacts the way BIPOC communities experience death and access end-of-life care. It’s Saturday morning in the summertime, and you are seven. Your grandmother takes you to Fulton Street in Brooklyn. She’s shopping for a wig, and she’d like you to hurry up. Saturday is the worst day to buy wigs. You and your sister follow her as she surveys the wigs in the shop. As in all things, but especially wig shopping, your Nana takes her time. After a million light years, or perhaps 20 minutes, your grandmother chooses a chocolate brown wig and motions to the shopkeeper. “Aren’t you going to try it on?,” you ask, but she shakes her head. “I know this head better than anyone. I know what looks good on it.” Later that night, at dinner, your grandmother debuts her new wig. …
Whose Green Burial is it Anyway? by: Corinne Elicone

Whose Green Burial is it Anyway? by: Corinne Elicone

This article is part of The Death Gap Series, a collaboration between The Order Of The Good Death and The Collective For Radical Death Studies. The series examines the various ways in which systemic racism impacts the way BIPOC communities experience death and access end-of-life care. In 1889, over 100 years before the first conservation cemetery was founded in the United States, a man who was just beginning his journey to become “The Father of Environmentalism” sat deflated in a high mountain pasture in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. John Muir had emerged from his campsite, furious to see the devastation that a flock of sheep had wrought on the grassland of this “cathedral” of mountains. He drew a line on a map through the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range to outline the piece of wilderness he hoped to call Yosemite National Park. Muir seemed not to notice, Yosemite already had a name: “Awahnee” meaning “gaping mouth-like place” named by the Awahneechee people …

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