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The Pandemic From The Eyes Of A Prisoner

Updated: Jan 19, 2022

I remember when it was declared a global pandemic and the nation went into lockdown. Of which, ultimately trickled down into the prison system and they immediately suspended all visitations and programming in prison. With no family and love ones coming into visit and no physical contact with the outside world left a spirit of uncertainty, worry and fear. I just sat in my cell and watched the news helplessly for hours trying to see what was the latest updates from President Trump addressing the nation, hoping to catch a glimmer of hope I can hold on to. However, I kept seeing the number of positive cases and the death toll rise due to the Coronavirus, and the President acting like a child during his debriefing sessions. That didn't help my anxiety.

The reality is that everything changed immediately and the world as we know it has now entered into a new era. In the beginning, it was like walking in a twilight zone, so eerie and weird. Everyone walking around in masks, people washing their hands more than ever, the correction officers enforcing and yelling at us to" keep your mask on"!. The atmosphere was tense and the spirit was heavy.

As millions of people around the world were locked down at home, compounded with businesses closing down and the lost of jobs of millions of people, and the added strain this deadly virus is putting on all our lives, and also on our institutional systems. I know I wasn't the only one experiencing a level of uncertainty and fear.

Now we are approaching 2021, A new year. A new president is now transitioning into power, and we find ourselves with a surge of cases nationally and one American dying every 30 seconds from the virus. However, news of a vaccination is on the way! The savior of the world, the hope we have to get back to our normal lives. I Don't know if I should be excited about it or be worried if I'm going to turn into a zombie after they shoot me up with the vaccine.

Just as we were gaining some momentum forward and things seemed to be functioning normal, the allusive and highly contagious Covid19 found its way into our prison. We immediately went into a complete lockdown quarantine and everyone was confined in their cell for 23 hours with a allotted 45 minute time out (dayroom, phones, showers, etc.) in efforts to mitigate the spread. With over 200+ cases, the lack of transparency, and the irresponsible management of prison officials and staff, You can really feel the tension and worry in the air. All the restrictions, yelling and punishing us by the staff over masks didn't work, because they failed to follow the rules themselves to mitigate the risk. They must've thought that this virus was a "conspiracy" or this was a "plandemic". Now they are scrambling to figure things out. How Ironic. Right? To add on to the severity of the situation, we just received the first reported death here in our prison. Stunned by the tragic and unfortunate death, left my heart breaking in silence. The fear and reality of everything is setting in across the facility. All our lives are at risk and we can't do anything about it.

As I began to feel the anxiety, worry, and fear, I sit in this cell and reflect on everything that just transpired within this last week and also within this year. who would of thought that 2020 would shape up to be one of the most unprecedented times in our era? When I think about the term "virus", I think in terms of a computer. When a computer has a virus, it infects the whole system and sometimes the computer needs to completely reboot its whole system in order for the virus to be eradicated and for the computer to operate back to its full function. As it relates to this global pandemic, this virus has no doubtedly infected our whole system. All our institutions, our communities, our families, our selves have been impacted in some way, shape, or form whether we realize it or not. From our educational system, to our medical institutions, to the workforce and agriculture industries, even down to our criminal justice system. All are experiencing some type of strain that is in need of relief. Its like this virus is holding up a mirror to our society, to our structures, to our systems, to the people, showing us our flaws and imperfections that already existed, we just chose to ignore it. .Is a reboot necessary? Do we need to restart, reform, or reimagine a more sustainable and equitable world? What did this virus reveal to humanity?

I'm not here to give the answers or claim that God gave me the answers for this pandemic and the issues we are dealing with. I just know, if there ever was a time for the people to mobilize around change, the time would be now. Because when a reboot is necessary and is needed, then it will require a new software to run the system. Meaningful change is knocking at the door and we all have a say in how we can reimagine and recreate the world we want to live in.

Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Awareness Group (APICAG) President, Stafford Creek Chapter.-

Billy Gumabon # 344209


191 Constantine way

Aberdeen, Wa 98520

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