On Masks

This is something that I just sent to my local Board of Supervisors. They are refusing to enforce the state’s mask mandate, requiring everyone to wear masks (so are the sheriffs and police). Because many of us with disabilities can’t safely attend meetings, we are now able to send our comments to be read aloud.

I honestly can’t believe how much of 2020 I’ve spent talking about a simple face covering but I was proud of what I wrote and I wanted to share it:

I was born in this county. I went to college in this county, and I’ve lived here for almost the entirety of my adult life. As someone who is high-risk, who has encountered massive challenges, and been isolated from a society that doesn’t understand me or my disability my entire life, to now have the county that I call home not even want to protect me is undoubtedly the worst feeling I’ve ever experienced.

People keep telling those of us who are high-risk to just “stay home” while the people who refuse to wear masks can go about their lives freely. I’m not asking to be able to go to the beach, or to malls, or even to restaurants. I’m asking to be able to get groceries and go to Target sometimes, and to be able to feel safe doing so. I cannot do that now because my county refuses to enforce a simple mask ordinance. We all deserve to feel safe and have the right not to die from running a simple errand.

Masks have been scientifically proven to help reduce the transmission of COVID. They’re now readily available everywhere. This is not a political issue, it’s a health and safety issue. Does it violate civil liberties to get your teeth cleaned? To wash your hands? To cover your mouth when you cough? To go to the doctor for an annual physical? These are things health professionals ask of us to keep everyone healthy, not politicians.

I shouldn’t even have to be sending this message to begin with. Times of crisis are when people are truly tested, and if this county can’t even try to protect ALL of its citizens during this pandemic, then it has completely failed that test. It’s not enough to simply “recommend” people wear masks. Will there be people who will still refuse to wear one? Of course. But if this pandemic has shown us anything, it’s that when given the choice (instead of a mandate), people will not choose the right thing. Please make the right choice and do the right thing this time.

I don’t know if this will make a difference but at least I know I tried. I’m never going to stop speaking up in whatever way I can.


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