Me, Asthmatic, Immunocompromised, Black, Discuss Coercion Under The Pandemic

D'mani Thomas

This piece was hard to write. There was a certain level of care that needed to come across after several months of worry, and when I say "care", I don't just mean an excruciatingly explicit recap of events, rather a tender analysis. In a year, we've had: orange skies, police terror, more police terror, a pandemic and so many other things. The question I asked myself was: how do I talk about the details on a more personal level? How do I cousin the big and small? - D'mani Thomas
COVID-19 disproporationately impacts people experiencing poverty because of less access to quality medical care, unstable or crowded housing, and unsafe work conditions, among other reasons. D'mani asks, "If there was a vaccine for poverty, what would be the virus? A school to prison pipeline? Predatory loans?" Elsewhere, the poet describes, "how medical professionals made the Oakland Coliseum a vaccination site in mere days but last summer we said housing 4 all and the city sent military tanks to evict mothers from homes no one was using." These lines both highlight the effectiveness of vaccines in combatting deadly viruses as well as illuminate the lack of support for solutions addressing the root causes of other deadly conditions.


Write about a world in which human-made issues like houselessness, lack of quality education, and global warming have been solved. How did we get there? What was the "vaccine?" What was the "virus?"


"If there was a vaccine for _____, the virus would be..."