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COVID Conversations

We hear from people in the Black and brown communities about their experiences during COVID-19. This coverage is made possible through a grant from the Florida Humanities Council.
  • A New Orleans native through and through, Alani Brisco describes himself as a father first and foremost. He sat down to discuss the trials and tribulations of Hurricane Katrina, his home life in Florida, and his experiences with online community and commercial enterprise during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, he traces the silver lining in all of his experiences, good or bad, and how he strives to pass on the hard-won knowledge from them all onto others.
  • As people rushed to their favorite supermarket to buy ridiculous amounts of toilet paper, Destiny was one of the many that worked to keep a sense of normalcy during the pandemic.
  • Dr. Washington Hill is a senior physician in Women's Health at Center Place Health and has practiced at SMH for 32 years. Dr. Hill also delivered babies for 55 years. With a strong interest in education, patient care, and clinical practice, this conversation with Dr. Hill focused on his philanthropic pursuits, giving back to the community through his obstetric practice and attention to individual patient care and education throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Dr. Hill shared the importance of a grassroots approach to community care and education, hinging on the platforms of its “trusted messengers.”
  • Emily Matos is a tech powerhouse and all-around creative. From housing projects to film production to self-publishing, she dabbled in a little bit of everything while she was grounded from her usually travel-heavy profession during the pandemic and into the present. Though she did so much, the conversation here follows a common thread of communication, and the ways in which it faltered and was fortified.
  • Jasmine Riche is an enterprising young historian with a passion for the subaltern and its implications on the present. She shared the trials and tribulations of labor, education, and empathy. Sharing her experience as both a night-shift hospitality employee and full-time History graduate student during the pandemic and into the present, Jasmine told her side of the story with comedy and melancholy in every measure.
  • Johnson Sinophat is a long-time friend of Jasmine Riche. Over the course of the pandemic, Jasmine realized she had not heard much from Johnson. When she went home and met up with him to catch up, Jasmine was informed of his brush with COVID. What she did not know, nor could have imagined, was how hard Johnson's battle was.
  • Jasmine Riche's colleague on this project and a valued classmate during her graduate school experience, Sherine Hamade eloquently reflects on their COVID experience. They started graduate school in the midst of the pandemic in the Fall of 2020, but Sherine’s pandemic journey was already in swing at that time. Sherine will be both a necessary and beneficial addition to history as a field and future reference, not only for their work on this project but for their concentration is on the History of Ybor City and the Tampa LGBTQ+ community. They begin Sherine’s reflection of the pandemic with their time at work as a Host/Bus in a small diner.
  • Wesley Catnott graduated from Florida Atlantic University in the midst of the pandemic. As he entered his last year of schooling with hopes to start his career, his dream was deferred almost indefinitely. Throughout the pandemic, Wesley found ways to stay afloat by working in industries that were not adversely impacted by the pandemic. In this interview, Wesley’s reflection of his pandemic experience shows how far determination, perseverance, and hope can get a person. We begin with Wesley’s reflection on the job he had during his last semester in school.