Local Bay Area Vaccine Mandates: The Story of a Merritt College Employee Who Refuses to Vaccinate

By JR Valrey, The People’s Minister of Information

Econzi Musa is a warrior woman that I had known for over half of my life. We met in the Pan African Student Union at San Francisco State in the 90’s, where we both were searching for the truth, and fighting for a brighter day for Black people. Econzi has always been a principled front-liner when it comes to standing up against the powers that be, as well as building on projects that can better our way of life. 

Recently, she has been working as a staff assistant at Merritt College in Oakland, and was given a covid mandate that she refused. Like so many people throughout the country including professional basketball players, rappers, police officers, airline pilots, healthcare workers, students, and teachers – she is fighting for the right to control what goes into her body, and against government intrusion, into her biological make-up, with experimental vaccines. 

The time is now for people to stand-up and support people like Econzi Musa, because people are losing their income because of the fact that they are questioning, or do not trust what the government and pharmaceutical corporations are promoting in the media about Covid. Salute to professional basketball player Kyrie Irving, who was recently suspended from the Brooklyn Nets because of his refusal to get vaccinated. He stated that he stands in solidarity with everyone who is losing their jobs because of the power that they want to preserve over their own mind and body. Econzi is a non-celebrated frontline souljah, who is making the same sacrifice locally. Whether people are vaccinated or not, we should always have a choice. “Medicine” should never be mandated. Here is Econzi Musa and her story, in her own words. 

JR Valrey: What exactly do you do at Merritt College? How long have you been there? 

Econzi Musa: I am the Staff Assistant for the Community Social Service/Substance Abuse (COSER) program, a program that assists students to obtain certification and/or AA degrees in entry-level paraprofessional Substance Abuse Counselor and Social Work positions. I work under the Faculty Director and Professor of the program compiling data, creating matrix, assisting students with getting registered in the program, licensing in California, referrals for internships and career opportunities, data entry, outreach to potential internship agencies, contract management, budget management, outreach to community-based organizations, scheduling meetings, writing minutes, and more.

My remote employment at Merritt College began July 2020.

JR Valrey: Have they given you a covid mandate as an employee? What did it say?

Econzi Musa: Yes, they have given us a covid-19 mandate. It states, basically, that all staff will be fired as of October 8, 2021 if we are not fully vaccinated or have an approved medical or religious exemption. Not only are the staff in the Peralta Community College that Merritt College is a part of required, students also have to comply with the new mandate as of the 8th.

JR Valrey: How did you respond?

Econzi Musa: I replied to their request with a resounding no. As an Israelite, we do not consume any and everything that others deem safe. Our laws of diet were stated in Leviticus 11.  We scrutinize and research everything from the food we eat to the medicine, supplements, personal hygiene products, and cosmetics used to try to live in compliance with the commandments our God, Yah gave us. I also mentioned that America has never had our people, our health and well-being, in good interest, referring to the multitude of experimentation done on Black people. I have a second cousin that was in the military, and was sprayed with agent orange. My father, a Master Sgt. in the Air Force and a healthy, active vegetarian over 25 years, died from a cancer that had a number, instead of a name at the age of 42. Just because the vaccine is trusted by many, I have not forgotten who we are still dealing with; a people that care less about people of color and other disenfranchised people.

JR Valrey: Where is the situation now?

Econzi Musa: The situation resulted in Merritt College denying my religious exemption, stating, “There are no novel synthetic ingredients or pork.” On Friday October 8th, I received a message in my work email that my account would be terminated in 24 hours. So I assumed that they were in termination mode as their letters stated. I emailed Human Resources the next business day, and asked when they would send my last check, and they were clueless. They informed me that they have not seen my name on the list, so I informed them of my work message saying the email account was being terminated. I then checked to see if I could log in, and sure enough I could on October 10th. There was a division meeting with my supervisor that day via Zoom, so I tuned in. I was surprised when she asked us to check in, as if everything was normal. My job was just threatened,  bully style and in a discriminatory way at that! I said it was unsettling that we were told we are terminated on October 8th, if we are not vaccinated or have an approved exemption, yet days later we are still on the clock without notice that we are still employed. No follow up to my denial to vaccinate as of October 18, 2021. She replied that it is between HR and I, that she did not know anything. I informed her that Human Resource was also not in the knowledge of how this is going to play out. I was then told to work until something else happens.

JR Valrey: What are your thoughts about the situation?

Econzi Musa: It’s a very stupid idea that is going to ultimately blow up in their face. In a time where experienced staff are needed, not to mention, in the midst of rapid decline in student attendance during the period since the pandemic started, giving a vaccine mandate on staff and students is only going to reduce both populations. As things stand, I trust the Creator of the heavens, earth, and all therein Yahowah to continue to cover and protect me.

JR Valrey: Why are you opposed to the Covid vaccines?

Econzi Musa: I can’t be punked into believing everything that they are saying. It is every person’s right to protect and manage their body. In addition to the above mentioned reasons stated in this interview, I have a very sensitive system; most things that others can eat, I cannot without severe allergy reactions. Something is not right when the adversary offers incentives for you to “sip the kool-aid, ” and even more so to threaten your very livelihood if you do not comply. I also don’t like the fact that I, nor my family can sue the doctors or companies if something does not go right after taking their new concoction; if they’re backing it up so hard, why are they running from legal responsibility? Houston I smell a rat.

JR Valrey: What will you do if you’re fired, financially?

Econzi Musa: I will continue to praise God and live with every day that I am blessed with, brother. The family and community at large is pulling together skills and resources like the days of old. In the midst of this and all storms, my goal is to stay on the board and ride the wave.

JR Valrey: Why should workers who are refusing to get vaccinated stay strong?

Econzi Musa: Workers that are refusing to get vaccinated should stay strong because it literally is a life or death situation, and it is their God given right to govern their body. I literally despise the divide and conquer that is happening to our families, friends, co-workers, even our fellow activists over this vaccine. We have to stand strong, restore, build and maintain together. Like the 10 plagues of Egypt spoken of in the Original Testament of the Bible, it has its purpose and season. Death is inevitable to us all, this vaccine is advertised as if it guarantees life when it doesn’t. Flex your right to decide as you see fit.

JR Valrey: How can people help with your plight?

Econzi Musa: People can help with my plight by first looking out for those closest to you, that are in similar situations. It is a blessing to be a blessing. Gather in numbers to protest what is happening here in California; we are indeed stronger together. I would say to write to some of these leaders, but I realize how futile that is. The adversary has their motives, purpose, and intention, leave them be. The light will outshine the darkness. Let’s return our focus to the bigger picture the Most High God is showing us; our purpose. Seek His guidance, and actively build on methods of self-sufficiency in the community. 

I recently published my first book of poetry in December 2020 entitled, “Life’s Golden Lessons: A Collection of Poetry, ” that can be found on Amazon. Any and all support is greatly appreciated.

One Reply to “Local Bay Area Vaccine Mandates: The Story of a Merritt College Employee Who Refuses to Vaccinate”

  1. I love, support, and stand by my sister! May The Most High bless us in the wyes of the wicked. May YAH bless her and others going through the same sevenfold!!…

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