When the Berkeley campus first went into lockdown, it was great for me. Because I had the whole campus to myself. But gradually, more and more people realized there was this big expanse of unoccupied green space right in the middle of the city. So more and more people are hanging out here every day.
The street scene is like watching a movie. Except you only get the middle act of the movie. You don’t get the first act or the third act. You don’t know their life story—what led up to them being the people that they are. And you almost never find out how their lives turned out.
We were locked in our rooms due to COVID-19 but allowed to use the restroom with, at times, 10 to 15 inmates. We line up for meds four times a day at least 10 to 20 deep. If you ask the correctional officer (CO) to wear gloves, they’ll refuse your meds.
I write this after 3 days of being curled into a fetal position, fighting off COVID-19. I was sick and bedridden when I received my test results that read, "COVID Negative." This is what it looks like to test someone and then try to transfer them.
When future generations look back on the devastation caused by this coronavirus pandemic, they are likely going to say that what happened to incarcerated populations in America’s prisons is tantamount to crimes against humanity.
“Sheltering in place” is a privilege that over 9,000 unhoused San Franciscans do not enjoy. Yet, shelters are congregate environments where people sleep barely more than two feet away from one another, head to foot or top to bottom in bunks.
Oakland is a city of so many races and cultures. Different, diverse, and from so many kinds of backgrounds. But one thing that unites us is the caring and loving people we are. No matter how hard the struggle may be, we always take care of each other. We are all in the same boat—struggling to live. We take matters into our own hands to get through life.