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Brooke Baldwin: These women inspired me in the year since Covid-19 knocked me flat

April 4, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 24.5%. 2 min read.

Through all the body aches and sweat-soaked sheets and golf-ball sized glands, I learned a lot about vulnerability and connection. Being sick and weak was awful, but it did give me clarity about what I value in life, writes CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin.

One of the reasons I was able to kick Covid-19's ass was because I had a support network of women, a sisterhood -- or what I call a "huddle. "

(It's called "Huddle: How Women Unlock Their Collective Power. ") Part journalism, part memoir, it examines the way women team up to give one another the support, strength and inspiration they need to meet the challenges of daily life -- and to change the world.

And even as women are going to bat for our entire country, more than two million of them have lost their jobs or been forced to leave their profession to school their children and care for their families.

Loraya Harrington-Trujillo, a South Orange, New Jersey, mother of two young children was struggling to homeschool her kindergartner, manage a 3-year-old and help her live-in mother care for her father, who suffers from Parkinson's disease -- all while working from home at a full-time job on the leadership team of a startup.

In Suwanee, Georgia, Shanita Cooper, mother to a 6-year-old, lost her job as a nurse just before the pandemic began when the small home-health-care company where she worked folded.

The two women formed a connection and Harrington-Trujillo activated her huddle to help lift up Cooper.

"I texted them all back and said what are you willing to do to help?" In the days that followed, Harrington-Trujillo rounded up more than 50 people who sent money, news about opportunities, networking connections and moral support to Cooper, allowing her to catch up on bills and renew some of her nursing-related certifications that had lapsed during the time she had been unemployed.

Harrington-Trujillo, who has spent her career working for companies that bolster women and girls, told me that "investing in women will pay tenfold into their communities. " To her point, while she was rounding up support for Cooper, Cooper was busy offering help to other women across her state who shared her frustration with navigating the complicated system for applying for pandemic-related unemployment assistance.

Of the common ground she found with Cooper, Harrington-Trujillo told me: "We are both beneficiaries of women who have invested in us -- through sponsorship, donation and emotional support -- and we've both been actively reinvesting in others as well. "

This kind of huddling, I learned, is not something we women do only in times of crisis.

Now that it's time for me to take a leap, I realize how a year after feeling so terribly vulnerable, I'm now bolstered by -- and have drawn courage from -- the women across the country who shared their brave stories with me.

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