Covid in Compton
Ivette Rodriguez December 8, 2020
I want to present you something, but I don’t know if you’re ready.
Do you think you are?
If you replied yes- please follow me down. ( if you replied no, maybe i can convince you?)
What do you know about Compton?
Did you think N.W.A? Maybe you like Kendrick Lamar? Bloods & crips?
If you thought of Compton Black Cowboys, Compton Art Walk, or even Patria Coffee shop- you’re cool please scroll down past this conversation.
My friends who thought about Compton artists, you’ve fallen into a wall that is only the surface of Compton.
The Compton I want you to think about today is not the gang related one. I NEED you to see this community filled with the people that actually live here, because Compton is made up of more than just gang violence. There are families here, people making ends meet, there are single mothers and single fathers here too, *gang affiliations do not invalidate anyone*
REAL PEOPLE LIVE HERE.
So just please keep this in mind.
In March, the Compton school district took about a week to decide to cancel in-person classes for the rest of the year. Covid-19 cases were not yet reported in Compton but the community came together and made a mutual decision that it was time to prevent any cases, however it has been 9 months now and Compton has begun to open up some schools and expose students to an environment where cases are increasing. In the recent weeks California has had a rapid increase in Covid-19 cases, as more and more businesses have opened up and people are leaving their homes. I live in front of two schools and I have been seeing the way the schools are handling students, and it has not been reassuring. From desks outside and an amount of staff present , these students are being put at risk for covid-19 and discomforting efforts for “normal” classes. I hope to bring light to a situation that my community is in, like most communities not only the U.S but around the world- When is it safe enough to have students and teachers back in class?
As of December 1, 2020 Compton has had a total of 5,786 Covid-19 cases. Compton may account 0.01% for all of Los Angeles County, but those 5,786 cases are increasing and this small community is made up of a far larger percentage of minorities. CDC describes “older adults and people who have severe underlying conditions like obesity, diabetes, or heart or lung disease” as being the most at risk for Covid-19. Now, it is no secret that minorities have an unfair disadvantage when it comes to being risk free of conditions like obesity or diabetes, therefore it is hard to imagine how overlooked this all is. This information should be factored in- everyone is at risk-but some people are at risk at a much higher rate.
We don’t know for sure when it will be completely safe, but we have options right now. These options are online learning, connecting virtually to avoid contact. I think many people are mislead by that statement, this virtual life we now have it won’t be forever (not if we keep playing with our lives). The flattening of the curve can be done- it has been done. As long as we stay clear and quarantine we may be in our classrooms soon.
I’d like to acknowledge that this will not be easy especially in a low income community, but we have to think long term. There are many programs out there right now helping, schools giving out food, churches having winter coat drives, celebrities hosting more food drives- theres a lot. However, this is not realistic for everyone some people lost their jobs, others did not and need to work full time away from their children; waiting for this calm down is not even a thought and thats okay. At some point we will have to go back to normal and I understand why parents found it so easy to just say “yeah you should go to school, it will make things easier for me.”
When I thought of this project I wanted schools to shut down and everyone to just stop their lives all together, and I thought I was right. I had this idea to show people what is happening in Compton, it’s true there are a lot of issues, but the community is only doing what it can with what it has. The question was no longer “well why are they letting these kids go back to school?!” it was “How can we get more resources for a stable environment where it is actually possible for schools to stay closed?”