We’re all in this together; interviews across Vashon
By Isaac Escovedo, Associate Editor
COVID-19 has had an interesting effect on the world we live in. While the spread of the virus has left us all isolating in our homes, we find ourselves in different situations. Depending on our age, our location, and our level of financial security, this pandemic has hit us all differently, but there are still common threads that bind us together.
“My life hasn’t really changed since the pandemic started, but it’s sad to not see my grandparents because they’re at risk,” junior Isaiah Dziko told me.
Dziko is not the only student taking the lockdown seriously, as many students understand the risks of COVID-19 due to family members being immunocompromised.
“I think [the lockdown] is really important,” junior Max Zuber said. “One of the people I live with is in a high risk group for the virus, so the lockdown is crucial for me and my family. It really upsets me to see people not following the rules just because it won’t affect them. I hate hearing the ‘I won’t die so it’s fine.’ It’s such a selfish way of looking at it, and it doesn’t take into account the lives of other people around you.”
Some teens may be disobeying lockdown orders and socializing, but most are taking the order seriously. In these trying times, we all need to do our part, and if doing our part means staying inside all day, Vashon’s teens are happy to do it.
Most teenagers on Vashon don’t work to support their families, so their opinions on the pandemic are understandably different from adults.
“I help run an arts center, which is now closed. Our spring education programs and events have been cancelled. No one can physically come into our space to see or purchase art, to take a class, to see and participate in a performance,” Darragh Kennan, Assistant Executive Director at Vashon Center for the Arts said. “[The virus] has threatened my livelihood and the livelihoods of my colleagues and the artists and teachers we serve.”
In times of financial instability, arts institutions are often the first to go, and as art is a huge part of Vashon’s community, the loss of these institutions would be devastating to the island’s local culture.
Some flexible artists like circus performer and physical movement instructor Shawn Kellogg are working to transition their businesses online, creating video classes, how-to videos, and more.
“I co-run a small arts performance and education business. Most of my contracts have [been] cancelled at this point. Every contract that was going to start in the near future has been put on hold,” Kellogg said. “My income is about to drop dramatically but I am still working on my business.”
The people I interviewed have been excellent at seeing the silver lining to this massive cloud. They’ve been spending more time with family, preparing for college, learning new skills, and expanding their businesses in new and exciting ways. Unfortunately, this situation could last a lot longer.
Kirsten Gagnaire is the founder and CEO of Kati Collective, a global consultancy focused on the intersectionality of women and tech in developing countries. Due to her profession, she’s more knowledgeable on the subject of pandemics than most.
“With my global health work, I have a deeper understanding of health systems and public health and I feel angry that we could have taken measures much earlier that would have us seeing a way out of this by now. … I do a lot of work with the global vaccine delivery ecosystem and … for good reason, it takes a long time to get a vaccine safely developed, manufactured and then distributed globally. It’s a huge feat that takes a lot of coordinated effort. Even if a vaccine is created, it’ll be a while before it’s manufactured and widely distributed. This leaves us in limbo for a long while with broad testing and safe limits on activities being the only way we can keep the instances of this down.”
Despite the strange times we live in, Gagnaire, like everyone else I interviewed, is managing to look on the bright side.
“I also feel like I’m holding both gratitude for all that being home for an extended amount of time means in terms of connecting with my family and not having the physical demands of regular international travel with the fact that I miss being out in the world desperately. I … try to connect with friends as much as possible to keep a sense of community.”
While we all find ourselves spending less time with others and more time at home, it’s important to remember that everyone’s circumstances are a little different. In such uncertain circumstances it’s important that we all play our parts. Whether that means sewing masks, performing an essential job, working from home, or even just staying away from other people as much as possible, we need to remember that we’re not alone, and that together we can beat this thing.