I Am Not Worried But Am Willing to Do What I Can to Help!

March 12, 2020, I stood there in line at my local fancy market, you know the kind that has a selection of 100 stinky cheeses, kombucha on tap, and for a hundred dollars, you leave with 2 little bags of groceries. The lines were… yes, worse than Thanksgiving Day. Huge. I was doing my regular shopping. Everyone around me was, well…totally freaking out. So I’m there in line thinking, hmmm why am I not “freaking out”? I’m the chick with chronic insomnia; I freak out over everything. Typically, I try to solve the world’s problems between 1 and 4 am. 

Then I look at the folks around me. What are they so worried about? Then it hit me like a chancla thrown from across the room; economic privilege is not having to “just make due with what you have”. Economic privilege means you can get the brie, the gouda, and any other damn type of cheese or thing you want. These people are afraid of what not having that privilege looks like.These people are now afraid that they are going to have to make due or even worse (gasp) “just go without.”

The line I stood in was as long, as long as the ones when I was a kid waiting for my block of government cheese. I had a lot of time to think. I thought about all the families struggling just to be able to make due. I thought about how bad it feels to go without, while folks around you don’t even notice. Well my fellow fancy market shoppers, I got you beat. I grew up exercising my “making due” muscle.  And let me tell you right now, as a daughter of refugees, a first generation American Alumni from UC Berkeley, a leader in the non-profit community, and a single mom; my hustle game is strong. Cuban coffee strong. 

I’m not worried. My people have been surviving and even thriving before COVID-19. My people have made it through the rise of a dictatorship, “el perdido especial” and the dreadful heartache of leaving their beloved island to face uncertainty. I am not worried.  My community rallies; we don’t look the other way in times of need. I grew up hearing the phrase, “Donde comen dos, comen tres”. Which means you share, even if that means your portion is less. You share because it’s the right thing to do. You share because it’s better to make due with what you have, than to stand by while someone else goes without. I am not worried. My people have been through so much. Some of us may not be able to afford the fancy shmancy $30 bucks a pound cheese,  but my people are LOVE rich. FAITH rich. THIS TOO SHALL PASS rich. My people are strong. Praying the rosary, lighting the candles, calling on our ancestors strong. I am not worried. 

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Elsa Cardona

Elsa Cardona

Elsa Cardona was born in Houston, Texas to Cuban refugees. Elsa graduated from Huntington Park High School in Southeast Los Angeles and went on to double major in Film Studies and Spanish at University of California Berkeley. Elsa's mother taught her Spanish first and instilled a deep respect for education early on. It is with that same love of learning and culture that Elsa teaches her 5 year old the richness of the Spanish language. She currently manages a social enterprise, 501c non-profit whose mission includes supporting single mothers through housing, on the job training and education so that they may break the cycles of poverty.
Elsa Cardona

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