In March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic first began, it was clear that the Bangladeshi community was severely impacted from a lack of resources and linguistically appropriate public health educational materials to prevent the spread to loss of jobs and financial stability to the unimaginable loss of family members from COVID-19. In response to the burgeoning crisis, Laal acted quickly. Laal X was born because of the financial loss, loss of jobs, immigration status, and the high rate of preventable deaths in this community. This worker-owned cooperative initiative was launched as an educational and economic tool to help educate and prepare the community for the second-wave of COVID-19.
Currently through Laal X, three womxn are being paid 20 hours/week for the creation of 200 masks per week. With three distribution partners in the community, Laal X breaks even with costs. This community initiative is preparing and quite literally saving lives in the community through economic development and an educational campaign that is also circulating capital within the local community. This model is one that aims to empower women by giving women the autonomy to provide financial security for themselves and their children, and in turn, challenges and breaks down the unequal power dynamic that is often created between women and their husbands or other male family members.