Santana Lee and David Easterly

Santana Lee has a conversation with her mentee David Easterly about how COVID-19 affected their community, as well as their experience participating in the Black Lives Matter protests.

Santana: I will say for me, dealing with the COVID-19 was really stressful, especially in the beginning because it hit us out of nowhere. I have nine children and eight of them live in the house, so to go from regular school into homeschooling was a lot. To have to prepare meals more often throughout the day when I wasn’t expecting to was a big adjustment. And just trying to make sure that my kids’ mental health stayed in check, being stuck in a house for a situation that they barely were able to understand, at the time was really hard for me.

David: For me, I would say that the COVID-19, it really affected me because around the time that it first hit, I was trying to sign up for driver’s ed. I was trying to find me a part-time job that adjusted around my All For Kids schedule. And on top of that, I still had to deal with school. But then again, it’s like the COVID took everything away because it just came out of nowhere in the middle of everything. It just shut everything down. I have my parents worried about it. I was worried about getting sick, going places. My mom, she has a heart condition, so it could attack her. It was just a lot of stuff for me to worry about.

Santana: When you was part of a peaceful protest, what was the feeling that was over you in the midst of that powerful moment?

David: While I was protesting, I was just more happy to see that people are finally listening to what we have to say and understanding of where we’re coming from when we say we’re tired of these things happening to our people. Or, to put it in a… I will say, I’m happy that we finally got a voice now. And people are finally listening to what we have to say as African American people. And nobody really listened to anything we ever said as far as when it came to this matter, it was always kind of pushed over. But now that it’s being made a big deal, I feel like more people are bringing it into light and bringing it to their attention.

Santana: And for me it was just overwhelming with joy. Like I said, to be in the atmosphere and watching all of it going on, it was so empowering to not watch it on TV, not watch it on social media, but to be a part of the movement and to just watch so much… it was so much anger, but so much love and respect for each other all at the same time, that it just inspired me to be great.


This segment was produced by StoryCorps, a non-profit whose mission is to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world.

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