A privilaged white latina women.

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A privilaged white latina women.

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In the beginning of the pandemic, I was frightened like many others. My parents are older than most of my friends, both around their late fifties' early sixties. In the area I was living, Ohio, I began seeing many lawn signs of Covid 19 not being real. Like anyone who believes in science I became extremely frustrated. People coughing in line behind me at the grocery store when I was with my dad and talking loudly about how masks were “stupid”. I began feeling personally targeted because of wearing homemade masks from the beginning. I feared how many people I would have to come in contact with at work and how I might affect my parents' health just by living under the same roof. As Covid came into fruition I was a part of one of the lucky companies that gave the option to stay home from work and be paid a minimum. I was grateful.

I began seeing a decline in mental health on social media. People could not take being home without their friends or their families were toxic. That’s understandable and I do not chastise anyone for feeling that way. My frustration stayed as I acclimatized myself to be home for months. I started paying close attention to news about organizations like churches, friend groups etc. gather even though we were in the height of Covid. I thought to myself “Can't it just...wait? Let us be safe first and gather later.” I feel it is unfair for me to make such a statement because I don’t know these strangers' lives at home, but it was hard to not take it personally when I had to shower anytime I went out for groceries or a mandatory meeting at work. Not to mention the constant dousing of sanitizer that my family and others who were fearful of Covid had to do to feel safe.

All this was happening in America in my middle-class neighborhood and social media started showing the disparities between classes. I was lucky that my whole family could afford to stay home but there were many...many families that had to keep working even though they could die. Just to keep a roof over their heads. This especially affected people of color and minorities in our country. There was and still is social unrest. Finally, the disparities that had always been there had been forced to be paid attention to. There was no relief for the frustrations we were experiencing and bottling during this time. About midway through covid I found out my uncle in Colombia died because he had to continue driving a Taxi for work and no vaccinations had been issued. It just felt like there was nothing I could do but panic and wait. Then, one of the most egregious acts of police brutality had occurred. George Floyd had been murdered by a police officer who pinned him down with his knee as he said “I can't breathe” until he no longer could.

America turned upside down. We saw videos of buildings being destroyed, fires, mass protests, shootings, the worst you could imagen. As a collective we had reached our boiling point and the last straw was this murder. My family was against my brother and I protesting because Covid still being at its height. I have protested at the Womens March in D.C and several pro-choice marches in Ohio but the Black Lives Matter movement was something I needed to educate myself on and stand up for. It was a calling for someone in my position of privilege to show up in numbers for people of color that deserve rights just as the rest of us.

I often reflect on how my life could have been so different. My father is Colombian, and my mother is Polish. I look white and have always been raised in a middle-class neighborhood. I have not had to face the same injustices as my father, my family and minority groups in America just based off the color of my skin. Police brutality has always been in existence but when we were all home during Covid with modern day technology and video evidence, we felt that video to the core. We felt the pure rage and frustrations as a society of how we were not being cared for in the way we thought we would have been during this pandemic.

I have never witnessed in my lifetime such united support for one another. Such a strong fight against people in power who are coming after the people we call friends, workers, lovers, and family no matter the color of their skin. In such destruction, pain and chaos I had never felt such beauty in our society. I will never forget the feeling of unity around me I had felt as hundreds of people laid down on the hard pavement during the Black lives Matter protest yelling “I cant breathe.” Finally, we could help the unheard be heard and take a deep breath together.

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This item was submitted on April 29, 2022 by [anonymous user] using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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