In March 2020, New York City became the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., hitting communities of color —and Latinos in particular— disproportionately. Lili Ruiz, a writer of Indigenous Mexican descent who had been living in New York City for work, decided to move back to Chicago to quarantine with her family, seemingly spared from the virus. Little she knew that the pandemic would follow her and her family on both sides of the border.
Over the next few months, text messages and phone calls began to reveal the true severity of the novel coronavirus spreading across the globe—including to Lili’s family hometown: Teotitlán del Valle, in Oaxaca, Mexico. The tragic series of events became all too real for them when a phone call in early June confirmed that Lili’s aunt and uncle —tío Mel and tía Malia— had both tested positive for coronavirus and had been admitted to a hospital in Illinois.
In this story, Lili takes us on her family’s emotional journey as one of many devastated by COVID-19. Through a timeline of audio recordings and intimate reflections involving her parents, grandparents, and cousins, it reveals their resilience, hope, and unity during a global crisis.
Featured image courtesy of Lili Ruiz.