I will always remember the panic that ensued when lockdown hit. Empty shelves,
empty streets, empty cars. The world panicked, then went quiet. At least on the outside.
Virtually though, life was bustling. Communities started Facebook groups, they shared
recipes, stories, sanitized mason jars of yeast starters. Everyone was confused, hurting
and isolated but we were going through it together.
Despite the chaos I was astonished that our first instinct was supporting each
other. This newfound epiphany was challenged in May, with the divided uproar following
the tragic death of George Floyd. Growing up as a minority, coming from a family of
immigrants, I knew racism. I had seen firsthand the twisted truths it speaks, the
ugly pain it leaves in its wake.
Many people talk about 'returning to normal.' I hope we don’t.
When I saw people, people I knew, people sharing yeast starters, denying its
existence I was furious. The only solace I
found was strengthening a voice I rarely used, a voice with little tolerance for ignorance
and extensive amounts of patience for teaching. I called senators, protested, signed
petitions, and convinced my best friend to vote for the first time. I was not the
January of 2021, I lost two very close family members to COVID-19. I was forced
to say goodbye to my uncle over Zoom. I hadn’t given my grandfather a hug in almost
a year. I know I was not alone in this experience either.
Many people talk about “returning to normal.” I hope we don’t. I hope we continue
to grieve and honor those we lost. I hope we keep sharing mason jars of yeast starters.
I hope we keep fighting for justice. I hope we never stop collecting the lessons this
strange interval gave us. I hope we take surviving this pandemic as an opportunity
to try a little harder, to be a little better.