FOR THOSE STUCK AT HOME DURING A GLOBAL PANDEMIC
By Nadia Pizarro
April 2020 Issue:
I’m sorry you’re stuck at home, homeschooling your kids and they are driving you crazy! I’m sorry you’re trying to work from home, with kids yelling, your spouse annoying you, constant distractions and no copier!
I’m sorry you’re stuck at home, your business is closed, you’re not making money, are afraid you will lose everything. I’m sorry you can’t go to work; you can’t make money and are fearful that you can’t pay your bills or buy food.
I’m sorry you can’t walk across the stage for your graduation, go to that concert, enjoy spring break, the vacation you planned or to the bars. I’m sorry that you are bored, that you’re lonely, that you are anxious and that you don’t have the food and supplies you need because the stores are bare from people hoarding in fear.
I’m sorry you’re stuck at home, and I understand that it sucks! But there is something I need you to please think about. You are stuck at home, but you are safe and with your family, and know that they are safe too. You can hug and kiss your children and the people you love. You can go on your porch, yard, park, grocery store, take a walk, go for a bike ride or order curbside pick-up when you get cabin fever.
I’m sorry you’re stuck at home, but I need you to understand, that there are so many people that wish they were stuck at home, because they are not. They must go to work every day and spend eight hours in fear. They fear their clients or coworker may infect them. They fear that someone may cough on them or they may touch the wrong thing. They fear that the sore throat, cough, headache, exhaustion or stuffy nose they’re feeling could mean that they are infected.
But they are “Essential Workers” who understand that if they don’t show up to work, people die. They are people like my amazing staff, who showed up Monday and when asked if they were willing to fight to save as many lives as possible, they stepped up! The type of people who’d go out to every store they can in the middle of a pandemic, scavenge all the food and supplies they can, bag them up and deliver them to the most vulnerable people in the city and would not go home until the last delivery was made. The kind of people who, for however long it takes, are willing to live without seeing their parents, children, friends and loved ones, who go right home after work and do not leave their homes because they know that they’ve had so many contacts with others, it is not safe. They are grocery store and retail workers who interact with hundreds of people per day. They are postal workers, police officers, social workers, behavioral health providers, truck and bus drivers. They are homeless services providers like my amazing colleagues who are trying to protect a group of people who have no home to isolate in or who are in shelters where one sick person can affect them all. They are healthcare workers, doctors and nurses who are treating the sick and putting their lives on the line for 18 hours a day.
I’m sorry you’re stuck at home, but please understand that there is nothing we wouldn’t do, if we, our staffs, colleagues, friends, family and loved ones who are “Essential Workers”, could be stuck at home like you, so we could be safe too. So, while you are stuck at home, keep your butts at home and take a moment to put yourself in our shoes. Then pick your hands up, and think of us, and say a prayer or two.
FAITH GIVES US THE STRENGTH
By Evelyn Rosario
October 2019 Issue:
On a day in September 2015, I was in my office, meeting with a counselee, when I received a phone call. It was from the doctor who gave me the news- “You have cancer.” It was as if time stood still. “I have cancer!” – “Yes […] you have to contact the surgeon for surgery.” When my student heard the news, she was stagnant. I do not know which one of the two of us was more in shock. Nervous, I shared the news with my colleagues. I was not prepared for it. Yet, I was not alone. Three of my four siblings also have had cancer. At that point, I did not say “why me”? I said- “why not me”? After all, I was not an exception. I thought if others have it, I can have it, too. I identified with my siblings (breast, kidney and bone marrow cancer) and several close friends of my faith who have and have died of cancer –Puerto Ricans like me, who had to confront that reality including Axel, the youngest, who lost his battle on August 5th but there are three of us left.
Biopsies, sonograms, painful exams, MRI’s, and blood tests confirmed the diagnosis. I thought, Relax! My daughter, who was working in France, took it harder. She transferred back to her company in Buffalo to assist me during the process of surgery and treatment. I am a survivor for four years, having the support of my family and friends. My siblings and I talk, check on and support each other in our own crisis. Thanks to the medical staff that takes care of us in Puerto Rico and in Buffalo, we are still standing. And, if our mission in life is shortened, our faith gives us the strength that we need.
In my case, other support is coming from Roswell Parks Hospital via its annual conference – Chapter 2, their medical staff, also in Windsong facilities, my colleagues at Buffalo State, and my doctors- Dr. Rajiv Jain, Dr. Katherine O’Donnell, Dr. Frederick Hong, Dr. Julian L. Ambrus Jr.
Something that cancer did to me was instill the courage to fight back. I decided to continue my doctorate studies and while taking the last course, I was receiving radiation therapy. Dr. Donald Grinde, my professor and Chair of my dissertation committee and its members, my classmates and Karen Reinhard in Transnational Studies at UB, encouraged and supported me through my struggle.
A key element during all this process is my faith. As Christians, my family and I embrace our reliance in our God, Jehovah, and the hope of resurrection. Therefore, we look at the future and death from a different perspective; we celebrate life [Job:14:14, John 5:28,29; Acts 24:15].
Thank you to those by my side during this whole experience, the support of my faith’s brothers/sisters, too many to mention, Dr. Mervin Román Capeles and Priscila Del Moral, M.S.
Note: Evelyn has a BA in Sociology (University of Puerto Rico), MA in American Studies (UB), and she is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in Transnational Studies (Indigenous Studies) at UB. She is well-know figure in the local Puerto Rican/Latino community — engaged in various community organizations.
Por Chiqui Vicioso
October 2019 Issue:
Los hechos recientes en Puerto Rico, donde casi un millón de enfurecidos boricuas se lanzaron a la calle para expulsar del poder al gobernador, se han convertido en sujeto de estudios de todos los laboratorios sociales del mundo, por una sencilla razón: sus protagonistas fueron jóvenes menores de 22 años. En Borinquén, según el censo, hay 657,809 centenials, equivalentes al 19% de la población. Divididos en 338,094 hombres y 319,715 mujeres. 42.5% entre 15 y 20 años. 75.5% vive con sus padres y 12.3% con sus abuelos. El 69.9% estudia en escuelas, o universidades públicas.
¿Qué es lo que define a esta muchachada?
1.-No se sienten representados por la clase política.
2.-Se identifican con causas sociales, como la protección ambiental y la equidad de género, son nativos digitales porque desconocen un mundo sin internet.
3.-Nacieron entre 1997 y 2012, por lo que no pasan de 22 años, y durante las recientes manifestaciones tuvieron una destacada participación.
4.-Creen que cada ser humano comete errores, y que Rosello y sus allegados se burlaron del país; y que se merecen algo mejor. “Puerto Rico merece un cambio y no es cuestión de colores ni partidos políticos, sino de hacer las cosas bien”. “Este es nuestro país y teníamos que salir a defenderlo”.
5.-Creen que tenían que ser partícipes y parte del cambio que quieren para su país, eliminar el maltrato infantil y contra la mujer y el daño ambiental (ideales de la juventud a nivel mundial).
6.-El gobierno de Rosello no atendió ningún reclamo. Además cerro más de 400 escuelas públicas, liderado por una secretaria de educación, Julia Kheeler que fue arrestada y acusada a nivel federal por cargos de corrupción. Una “ministra” que no sabía quiénes eran Hostos ni Balderiotti.
7.-Para todos en Puerto Rico fue una oportunidad de entender que la democracia no es ir a votar cada cuatro años, sino exigir que los gobernantes escuchen a su pueblo. Fue un proceso de aprendizaje para todos.
8.-Se diferencian de los MiIlennials (nacidos entre 1981 y 1996) de muchas maneras. Han crecido viendo a los Milennials irse, y no quieren irse de Puerto Rico. Quieren un mejor futuro y mayores oportunidades.
9.-Solo conocen de austeridad, pero se preguntan: ¿Cómo es posible que en el mismo lugar donde se construyen trenes urbanos y megaproyectos (“Nuevayor Chiquito”) no pueden mantener escuelas abiertas, ni hospitales y dejan morir a los enfermos por negligencia?
Los Centenials son los “tigueres” y “tigueras” de los barrios pobres de aquí, los que viven por debajo de la línea de pobreza y aun insisten en estudiar, en rechazar la droga, en creer en el país, de quienes nadie se ocupa. Quien tiene oídos para oír…