Civil Discourse During A Pandemic

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Civil Discourse During A Pandemic

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I assume like many New Yorkers, March 13th through 18th was when things really changed. It did for me on the 15th of March 2020 or the ides of March as I like to remember it. My store shut down for what seemed like 2 weeks. Of course, soon I would be given the news we would be shut down completely. I already knew where things were going, at the time I worked at an Asian restaurant, so I was hearing many of the conversations about China then. But I could not have predicted what would happen next. As slow and dreadful as 2020 was, things were moving at lightning speed for the situation we experienced. It felt like every few days something new would arise and test our nation. I selected these pictures because it shows how tired everyone is, the blank faces of people who are following orders, while the other side expresses their hardships all the while wearing masks, the bane of 2020. I want the historian of the future to know that no matter the situation at hand, many of us will still protest for what was wrong even if they got sick. It didn’t matter because we needed to send a message.

The two images that you see in the beginning were taken by my friend, Emilio Lopez, who documented the protests, riots, and clashes between police in the summer of 2020. I did not go to the early protests because of covid and the violence/looting wasn’t the things I wanted to be a part of. I remember face-timing my friend to make sure if he was alright as I did not go with him. What he described to me that was happening in the parts of Fordham, and Union Square areas. Emilio had said many of the protesters were young men who were bored of the lockdowns and needed to do something exciting. There were fires, baton exchanges with the cops, and then the looting started. It all got a little too ugly for the whole week of George Floyd protests in New York. One of my close friend’s stores in Fordham was destroyed as a result.

The images were taken right before things took a violent turn at Union Square. Where many of my friends were tear-gassed and beaten by cops to disperse when the first lockdown was getting implemented. Those two images, I feel like the body language of the subjects conveys how I felt about the lockdowns, the social injustice, in general about 2020. These were the first few weeks of protests that took place in the wake of George Fyold murder. I was shocked and scared when the masses went on to the streets because of the sheer amount while the pandemic was still going on. I hope the historians of the future can understand us even if they have to go through a cluster of memes from this era, real pictures with real human emotions will always speak louder I believe, and that civil rights in this country still have ways to go.
Undergrad majoring in Liberal Arts History.

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This item was submitted on May 15, 2021 by [anonymous user] using the form “Share your story- Bronx” on the site “Bronx Community College New York”:

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