Does Truth Pharm Have a Black Woman Problem?

At least four Black women have come forward with tales of emotional and financial abuse by the non-profit

Truth Pharm website depicts former Black employees to show “diversity” within the organization.
Racist and passive aggressive check for back-pay

Even if these women had merely joined the payroll and performed the bare minimum, their compensation was earned.

When I became a Truth Pharm board member in October 2020, I did so expecting to be a part of something that impacted all people in the most positive ways. When two black women abruptly left the organization, I now know that those were two missed opportunities for me to dig deep and offer support to these women’s whose voices should have been heard. I regret and wholeheartedly apologize for not giving that immediate pause and attention before resigning from Truth Pharm in August 2021.

Commitment to anti-racism means being able to have tough conversations about race, explore and challenge your own bias and racism, and address harms directly when they occur. We do not need to “work through a process” for apologizing when we hurt others. Moving forward, I will pay attention to sudden shifts (such as two black women leaving an org suddenly) and listen for micro-aggressions. I will ask hard questions centered around racism and oppression. I will strive to prove myself as someone who will advocate for anyone who feels they are being silenced. I sincerely regret not reaching out directly to those two women after they left the organization. This has been an awakening experience and now that I know better, I will do better.

Full statement.

To those who believe Black women,

Two weeks ago, an article was released detailing some of the many ways Black women have been exploited and mistreated by the organization known as Truth Pharm. In the days following, many from our community expressed anger and frustration with not only the instances of harm and financial abuse, but the lack of acknowledgment of these ongoing and well-documented issues by the organization and their Executive Director, Alexis Pleus.

With mounting pressure, and more women coming forward, Truth Pharm reluctantly responded to the accusations in the form of a cold legal statement on their Facebook page. The release of their statement was timed to coincide with a national holiday in an effort to minimize additional fallout and reduce the growing traction of our stories. To the disappointment of many, Truth Pharm’s response was neither remorseful nor centered around those of us who’ve been exploited by the organization.

In the weeks since that article was released, none of us have been contacted nor apologized to by Truth Pharm, and the organization has attempted to strip us of any agency in handling how our harm be addressed. By failing to even acknowledge this harm, Truth Pharm is effectively denying and dismissing the serious claims made against them. In fact, the organization has worked to regain control of the narrative and “navigate” the situation, rather than address it honestly and thoughtfully.

Furthermore, we have no decision-making power regarding the entities allegedly being commissioned for the “unbiased” accountability process Truth Pharm has proposed in lieu of restorative justice for the harm they’ve caused, and continue to cause.

We have learned that current and former Truth Pharm board members were not made aware of the racist and exploitative practices exhibited by their Executive Director, and were intentionally misled regarding illicit grant proposals submitted on their behalf. Former board members have reached out to us to apologize for failing to act, even as Black women fled the organization.

To mitigate the damage done to Truth Pharm’s reputation, Alexis has taken to a private messaging campaign where she reframes all of this as a broad conspiracy maliciously crafted by “bad actors.” Her goal is to actively undermine our experiences until they fade from public consciousness, as stories from women who are harmed so often do.

Many of us have been vocal about the harm inflicted upon us by Alexis and Truth Pharm for months, and in some instances, years. Until recently, the response from the perpetrators has been nonexistent. It took public outcry and support to elicit any response from the organization, hollow as it may have been. So it has been made clear to us that Alexis and Truth Pharm are not sorry for the harm caused, and will proceed in a manner that is ‘business as usual.’

Despite this, the support our community has shown us has been overwhelming and we are touched by the love that has been given. We will not allow our experiences, or the experiences of other women in our community, to go overlooked or be disregarded. Those of us who sit at multiple intersections of oppression cannot afford to allow these predominantly white and white-led organizations who cause us harm to exist outside the realm of accountability.

We, the undersigned, release this statement in the hopes that more community members will be aware of the harm that has been caused, as well as the need for Truth Pharm to treat our trauma seriously. We have all experienced — to varying degrees — the toxic work environment and patterns of discrimination, exploitation, and/or financial abuse currently upheld by Truth Pharm.

Additionally, we will be holding a virtual discussion panel to further outline the array of harm we’ve experienced, as well as our goals and expectations for moving forward individually and as a community. We hope that the community will join us in this discussion and continue to support not only us, but all who bear the brunt of exploitative behavior from non-profit organizations and the individuals who oversee them.

We keep us safe.

In solidarity,

• Khamesi Black
• Sulaiminah Burns
• Ashley Cambro
• Latoya Melendez
• Jessica Blanchard
• Celena McDonnell
• And others who choose to retain their anonymity at this time

Virtual Discussion Panel
Tuesday, Dec 7th @ 6pm EST
Live-stream will be right in this event. RSPV:



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