What has been the most challenging part of Covid-19?
The past few months have been challenging. The spread of COVID-19 has devastated the world. Amid the uncertainty, it allowed the world to witness racial injustice with focused attention. The killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and others have been heartbreaking. Ahmaud was just jogging. He did not do anything wrong. As someone who loves to exercise, it showed me that Black men are not safe anywhere. Floyd was murdered by a police officer as he cried for help. These are not isolated incidents. They keep happening. It is tough to have just completed my dual-graduate program at Harvard and Wharton and know that because society sees me as a threat I always have to be “careful”. Even then, I and those who look like me are still targets.
It is also disheartening to see leadership, up to the formal most authority in the country, dismiss the grievances of those suffering.
Yet, I remain hopeful that we will create a better future. Peaceful protesters of all backgrounds have united to stand for what is right.
What has given you strength/ are there any unexpected positives from this time?
I am very close with my family. Spending more time with my nieces and nephews has brought me great joy. For example, we choose topics on weekends and we all present the following Sunday via Zoom. A few Sundays ago, my 3-year-old nephew wore a Toy Story Woody outfit and was determined to teach us how to whistle. I tried to maintain a focused look when he presented, but I could not hold in my laugh. It burst out! I still laugh every time I think about it.
Who do you wear a mask for?
COVID-19 has exposed the inherent discrimination in healthcare and other systems. For example, Black communities have been disproportionately impacted in comparison to others. Majority Black counties account for over half of COVID-19 cases in the United States and approximately 60% of deaths. The CDC and other researchers highlight that racial and ethnic minorities:
Are more likely to live in densely populated areas because of institutional racism in the form of residential housing segregation.
Live in neighborhoods that are farther from grocery stores and medical facilities.
Are over-represented in jails, prisons, and detention centers, which have specific risks due to congregate living, shared food service, and more.
Have lower rates of access to paid sick leave. Workers without paid sick leave might be more likely to continue to work even when they are sick for any reason.
History shows that minority groups are more vulnerable during crises and public health emergencies. We cannot allow this unfortunate history to keep repeating. We can do better. We must do better.
I wear a mask with and for all who stand up against the discrimination.
30 years old