They Hold Us All (2020)

Melanie Cervantes

For the rest of my life I will be in the vulnerable category. Be it the California wildfires, this global pandemic or any unforeseen future cataclysmic events that can threaten my health and my life because of the lung cancer I have already survived. Over the course of the past three years I have come to appreciate how dependent I am on other people particularly in light of becoming disabled by this disease and vulnerable to environmental threats like the coronavirus.

As the coronavirus pandemic spread globally I watched with great attention to the people in our community who have worked tirelessly to protect the life of people who have become afflicted by covid-19 and complications that come from the illness. I have spoken with friends and family members who work as nurses working long and stressful shifts often without sufficient personal protective equipment or without access to enough equipment to change it throughout the day. I started to think about how the protective supplies like the masks protect both the wearer and the people who come into hospitals and medical centers and interact with the medical professionals who see patients all day. It is extraordinary to see how much nurses give of themselves and how the care they give has exponential benefit for not only their patients but the patient’s loved ones and their larger community. In this way they hold us all and deserve for us to show our solidarity by supporting their demands for protective gear.

I created this graphic with the National Nurses United

to uplift the nurses working diligently and demanding the PPE they need!