MANAAL ALI WRITES – During the current outbreak of COVID-19, many lives have been affected, from families not able to buy essentials such as hand sanitizer, water, and toilet paper to small businesses able to provide only limited services- or else closing down. My family has had almost no customers coming to our U-Haul moving business. My father, who runs the business alone, was very concerned when the Public Order Under the City of Los Angeles Emergency, titled Safer at Home, came out. According to paragraph 5 section ii, businesses such as plumbing, electricians, and moving services could stay open. While this might seem like a silver lining for us, it is, in fact, a bit discouraging for my family. Not many people are moving now, especially since California and many other states have been put on lockdown.
Despite all that, my parents have been compassionate enough to house friends in need. One of my best friends, who is from out of state but moved here for school, has no family of her own locally for support. Her mother asked whether my family could host her for the time being, and my mother of course agreed. Even though our living space is a bit cramped, my parents are not the type to let a young person without family go through this pandemic alone.
This whole crisis has opened my eyes to how entitled much of America is. Many upper-class citizens are stocking up on groceries for months instead of listening to the Center for Disease Control, which stated that it is best to shop for one week, rather than a month. This leaves many others scouring the city for scraps of food or canned goods, or rolls of toilet paper. Even though my family can manage day to day with what we already have, I can’t help but see the hurt in my parents’ eyes when they come home with almost nothing because the shelves were nearly empty.
Speaking of entitlement, I was especially angered at the recent clip of spring breakers in Florida who said that coronavirus had ruined their plans. They were reacting as if millions of lives were not at risk. While I am grateful to have been born in this country, I can’t help but think that a lot of times Americans have taken advantage of their freedom and acted as though this virus was deliberately designed to infringe on their freedom.
For now, all we can do is take the days as they come. It may be hard to adjust, especially since the quarantine will now be extended to April 30 and most likely we college seniors won’t have our formal commencement ceremony. I think many seniors at colleges across the country, not just here at LMU, feel their final, crowning moments as undergrads being stripped away.
Now that we have had some time to reflect on this moment and grieve, I’m glad to see many seniors accepting the news for what it is and trying to finish the semester on good terms. It’s important to remember that, yes, it is so annoying to end with online classes but we all have to be together in fighting this virus. That means encouraging others to practice social distancing and keeping up with hygiene/ safety concerns as well as all other precautions to really make a difference.