Friday, June 12, 2020

Pandemic Insecurities and Shifting Seasons

Melinda Palacio

Lockdown’s summer edition comes with the fact that Covid-19 is settling into 2020 and will probably usher us into the new year. As much as I love being at home, I do miss being out in the world. While this uncertain time only grows more uncertain because of the lack of leadership in this country, there are a few new pandemic habits that I plan on keeping up with. Having to ration out food and plan meals ahead of time is a plus. I admit I was getting into the habit of eating out too much. I’m grateful for the opportunity to slow down and appreciate being home by gardening more, learning to sew, and making music. It’s been a joy keeping up with both ukulele and guitar. 
As someone who grew up with choices on career and family and marriage, I didn’t want to learn how to sew my own clothes. My grandmother tried to teach me how to use her sewing machine but I didn’t appreciate the lesson at the time. A month ago, when I was in a desperate fix to make masks, I wish I had paid more attention.
For a second, the world, regardless of what the new normal might be, looks like hopeful place, but then the news sets in. People are rallying against racism and despite a pandemic, we make a statement against racism and the world follows suit. But when I think about all the Black lives it took to fire people up, I get dejected again. Especially when I think of my nephew. 
Like all people, I only want the best for him. He’s a child that enjoys playing with guns and aspires to be a police officer. He’s still too young to realize that as a brown-black boy the simple act of playing with a toy gun in public could bring him harm. The simple act of being in the outside world can bring him harm because of the color of his skin. As handsome, charming, and smart as he is, he does not wear a cloak of white privilege. The very institution he admires might burst his bubble. I don’t know why little boys enjoy playing with guns. 
As a child, I wasn’t allowed to play with matches, let alone guns. For now, he has a certain freedom as a boy that I never did. I wonder how long that will last. I can only hope that change is possible during his childhood and he will not have the trauma of racism and fear the institution he admires. Will racism take away his childhood? Will Covid take away his trust in the outside world? Will we leave a better planet for our future. Injustice happens right under our noses, murder, children separated from their parents, concentration camps in this country, people forced to endure unsafe conditions and a relentless virus on top of a greedy government that seems hellbent on destroying the planet. These are some of the things that keep me up at night during times when I worry about the world. Please vote. 

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