Date Modified is exactly 9/28/2020
what I have done with all the free time the virus gave meMy document talks about what I have done with all the free time the virus gave me
Time of uncertainty and uncharted territoryMarch 14. That was the date everything became real. COVID-19 had personally reached my life. My restaurant, my livelihood was gone and I found myself scared for my safety, my well being and I wondered how I was going to survive this pandemic with no income. My family and loved ones were in Los Angeles, CA, my birthplace. They all encouraged me to "come home" but I vowed to stay in New York, the place I had been calling home for the previous three years. Once I received the email from the general manager of my restaurant, I felt as if my world had shattered and I realized New York City was going on lockdown. As one of the most eccentric places to live, we have been hit the hardest by this virus, arguably more than anyone in the world. Six months later, with 200,000 American lives lost and counting we are still in the midst of this global pandemic. There have been moments of fear, unification, division, perseverance, and love among other things. Looking forward, I hope there is a means to this end and as we arrive there we treat each other with the love and respect that we each deserve.
Vacation-19I wrote a story about my grandmother's visit at the start of the pandemic and how it affected her stay.
From Ground Zero in ItalyMy immediate family, sister and mother, live in the city of Albino, in the province of Bergamo, the hardest hit area in Italy. The rest of my family lives in Cremona, the second hardest hit area in Italy. My sister contracted the virus at the very beginning of the pandemic, sometime in February 2019. She locked herself up in her room for 6 weeks and eventually recovered. Six months later she still suffers from fatigue and on-and-off muscle pain. Two older relatives died of the virus. One was in a hospital for minor surgery he had postponed for a few months. When he finally decided to get it done, it was right at the beginning of the storm. He was infected and died in a matter of days. The second one was in assisted living. The angel of death glided over the facility and took more than two dozen residents with it. The most painful was the death of a high school friend, a family doctor in Como. He started seeing patients with strange symptoms. With no guidance and no information from the Health Dept, he kept doing his job. When he came down with the infection, the virus load was so high he only lasted a few days. My mother escaped the infection. She lives in the same building as my sister, but they didn't see each other for months. She lived alone like a recluse. Friends or relative would drop off food by her door, she would put out the garbage and that was it. In the meantime she kept hearing stories of people she had known for a lifetime who passed away "they are dropping like flies" she told me one day. She mentioned a famous poem by Italian poet Giuseppe Ungaretti, a poem he wrote while he was fighting in the trenches of World War I: "We are like leaves on a branch in autumn." I spent hours every day, sometimes several times a day for weeks, trying to console and give her courage. At a certain point I thought she was about to give up. She wasn't eating anymore, she was getting weaker and weaker, half asleep the whole day, awake in terror and sorrow at night. As to my life, it is similar to that of most of you. I live outside NY, my wife, two daughters and I managed with some adjustments in our routines. I avoided social networks like the plague (sorry for the metaphor), stayed away from the news and commentaries, focused on my teaching as much as possible, even took care of the backyard. Over the months, it was discouraging to the point of banging my head on my desk when I was watching Europe slowly getting control over the pandemic, while in the US we were and still are stumbling like blind morons, clueless and bamboozled by borderline criminal propaganda. I am not talking about all, of course. But it is frankly horrifying and terrifying to find out that 1 out of 2 people - more or less - I see in the streets live in a state of willful derangement, posing a danger to themselves (I could care less about them) but most of all to the rest of us.
From Ahuehuetitla to Brooklyn: Life under the COVID-19 pandemic and the Trump AdministrationUsing autoethnography as the method of research, this paper explores the fears and anxieties exacerbated in the Latinx community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through narrative snapshots, I depict how the pandemic worsened due to policy meant to limit undocumented Latinx immigrants’ access to health services. By focusing on the evolution of the public charge, this project depicts the ways the Trump administration’s hateful rhetoric and racist policies exacerbate the fear, life-threatening conditions, and long-lasting trauma on undocumented Latinx immigrants during the COVID-19 pandemic. Closing in on one Brooklyn family’s navigation of the 2020 political climate, worsening pandemic, working-class realities, and immigration system, I take you through the present realities often left unseen by mainstream media.
The Hands of Our Mothers: The Survival of Black Motherhood Through COVID-19 & the UprisingsMy project sought to examine and understand the historical resilience of Black motherhood and its relation to the life altering pandemic, COVID-19 and racially driven uprisings against systematic oppression; How Black motherhood and resistance through Black motherhood adapted, how it’s changed and what new radical resistance through motherhood was conjured in face of the pandemic and race clarity. As an autoethnographic account this research project was centered around my experience of motherhood and communal connections, as well as the experiences of Black mothers and birth workers. The political positioning of Black mothers was considered through essays and poetry written, as well as photos during the lockdowns in relation to the concepts of birth and death, the idea of radical mothering and activism, and the umbrella term of community.