The COVID-19 pandemic has not tested anyone more than healthcare professionals. While the rest of the world paused, healthcare workers stood in the spotlight.
Working as a community health nurse through the pandemic, our founder Jackie Darling turned to drawing and painting as a creative outlet for processing and expression. On election night 2020 - a pivotal moment during a year of the pandemic and civil unrest, Jackie sat down, watching the polls, and started doodling. The first sketch on our “Health is a Human Right” design was brought to life.
In the coming months, Jackie became continually inspired by the nurses, doctors, and healthcare students, not just fighting the pandemic but for human rights, social justice, and health equity. Therefore, Riot Healers was born through a love of creative expression and designs that convey the messages that uplift healthcare professionals and the invaluable work they provide. Many of the designs are inspired by the art and posters you see at rallies, protests, and marches.
Jackie here - the founder, creator, and artist behind Riot Healers. Originally from the near-west side of Chicago, I have dedicated my life and career as a nurse serving my community. Currently, I work as a practicing faculty member at the UIC College of Nursing. There, I am also completing my Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) to become a Family Nurse Practitioner. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, I have also worked as a community health nurse.
In Chicago, where health disparities are drastic and devastating, I have been drawn to addressing social determinants of health for many years. In 2016 I co-founded the organization "Student Nurses for Social Justice" at the UIC College of Nursing, an organization still running today. I have also recently accepted the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship to design, implement and evaluate a community-based health prevention project focused on serving the Englewood neighborhood on Chicago's South Side.
With this platform at Riot Healers, I hope to amplify the many voices in healthcare helping to close the unequal healthcare gap so prevalent in our country and around the world.