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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.

Featured in the image: Tío Mel and tía Amalia (Photo ourtesy of Lili Ruiz).

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.

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2 thoughts on “From Chicago To Oaxaca

  1. Lili,

    Oh my heart. Thank you for sharing such a personal story. I was in tears by the end. What a beautiful way to honor your Tio and Tia. My condolences to you and your family.

  2. I would like a link to the story I heard today on your show that was a conversation between women who are juggling family and career during the pandemic. Thanks for your assistance.

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