Gamma Eta is committed to making sure our sisterhood stays safe and recognize sisters on the frontlines working to help those in need. We’ll be featuring sisters who are dealing with the pandemic firsthand as we honor their service to our society. ⠀

Shixiu “Claridad” Ricardo
Fall 2014 Upsilon Class, Alpha Chapter
CDC Fellow placed in Virginia⠀

I was working at my health department in Virginia when I got the news the CDC was deploying employees to deal with the early stages of the coronavirus. Before I knew it, I was deployed to New York City John F. Kennedy Airport. I worked at the Quarantine Station for a month assisting with the COVID-19 response. As CDC employees, we can volunteer whenever there is a local, national, or international need. ⠀

I screened passengers, most of which were Asian, from incoming international flights before travel restrictions were really in place. I was able to use my Mandarin Chinese skills to help ease the nerves of children, their families, and the elderly as they returned home to the U.S.⠀

Many people were stressed and uncertain with the deplaning procedure, but communicating with people in our native language helped foster a connection and trust. As COVID-19 continues to make headlines, reaction to the Asian community has been disappointing with stereotypes and preconceived notions plaguing my community. I spoke Chinese with pride and reassured all passengers, Asian or not, that I was there for them during this uneasy time. This is why I got into public health. ⠀

It’s important to remember connections with loved ones and strangers alike help keep us human, especially during times like these. We should all tend to our relationships to look after one another. After all, tomorrow is another day.

For more sister features like Shixiu’s, follow @gammaetasorority on Instagram.