A letter to Coronavirus
By Jada Johnson (Artwork by Pooja Singh, UHMP graphics and social media coordinator)
May 13, 2020
I want to say thank you. Thank you for allowing the world to slow down and think, or in other words, to stop and smell the roses. I have been smelling the roses, and when I thought I couldn’t smell any more, I dug deeper. This digging allowed me to find diamonds in a coal mine. As you have settled into the United States, you have separated a lot of people from their friends and family.
However, you have also put some closer to their success. Sadly, only a few have really stopped to smell the roses and realized they were closer to success than they thought they were before you got here. This pandemic has been one of the most stressful times for many. For those people who have had to deal with mental, physical, and emotional abuse and trauma, the roses can be the light at the end of the tunnel.
Maybe I’m being too shallow, Corona. I AM PEOPLE and PEOPLE IS ME. I am the one who needed to stop and smell the roses. I am the one who has dealt with the trauma. During this Covid-19 time period, I have been able to spend my time with a friend who has pushed me to see greatness and has allowed me to stop and smell the roses. I have allowed myself to stop focusing on the trauma and, instead, focus on these roses – the roses that most people walk past to get to short success. People did not see that rose grow from the concrete lot under obstacles so solid that even the jackhammer couldn’t break the top layer and the bottom had to be crushed first.
That’s the problem though, Corona. People needed something as devastating as you to show us that you must go through a little bit of something before you can become a lot of something. Though you may have your ups and downs, Corona, you’re not too shabby. You are just like anything else in society with manifest and latent functions. You were not intended to be bad and dangerous, it just happened, but maybe that’s what needed to happen. To me, your arrival in the United States was intended for you to stop school and shut down the state so that me and my counterparts could take a few key points from you.
So, thank you again.
Jada Johnson, a young rose from the concrete lot
Jada Johnson is a graduating senior at the Achievement Academy at Harbor City in Baltimore, Maryland. She works as a youth entrepreneur with the organization HeartSmiles, and as a youth advocate for the No Boundaries Coalition. Jada plans to attend Baltimore City Community College in the fall with a double major in pre-law and psychology and a minor in journalism.
Pooja Singh graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, in 2019 with a degree in global studies and biology. She is currently working in fast food to save for her master's degree program in global health and community development.