Anita Niles-Lee, July 13, 2020

Dublin Core

Title

Anita Niles-Lee, July 13, 2020

Subject

COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020-
COVID-19 (Disease)

Description

Anita discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting her and her family; how her family has experienced racism and the rise of racism during the pandemic; keeping in touch with her family; the Black Lives Matter movement; stepping down from PFLAG; and gardening.

Publisher

Special Collections and Archives, Trexler Library, Muhlenberg College

Date

2020-07-13

Contributor

This oral history recording was sponsored in part by the Lehigh Valley Engaged Humanities Consortium, with generous support provided by a grant to Lafayette College from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Rights

Copyright for this oral history recording is held by the interview subject.

This oral history is made available with a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0). The public can access and share the interview for educational, research, and other noncommercial purposes as long as they identify the original source.

Relation

40 Years of Public Health Experiences in the Lehigh Valley LGBT Community

Format

video

Language

English

Type

Movingimage

Identifier

PH40_18

Oral History Item Type Metadata

Interviewer

Liz Bradbury

Interviewee

Anita Niles-Lee

Original Format

video/mpeg

Duration

01:05:15

OHMS Object Text

5.4 July 13, 2020 Anita Niles-Lee, July 13, 2020 PH40_18 01:05:51 LVLGBT40 40 Years of Public Health Experiences in the Lehigh Valley LGBT Community Muhlenberg College: Trexler Library Oral History Repository This oral history recording was sponsored in part by the Lehigh Valley Engaged Humanities Consortium, with generous support provided by a grant to Lafayette College from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020- COVID-19 (Disease) Anita Niles-Lee Liz Bradbury video/mpeg Niles-LeeAnita_20200713_video.mp4 1:|20(9)|33(8)|53(5)|83(14)|102(7)|123(6)|136(12)|152(8)|163(13)|177(17)|190(4)|201(3)|215(10)|227(2)|244(2)|255(9)|287(9)|300(8)|314(5)|328(7)|347(10)|359(15)|374(1)|387(9)|400(8)|419(4)|437(7)|455(4)|476(8)|496(13)|518(16)|542(3)|558(16)|569(5)|587(11)|602(16)|610(10)|622(5)|637(4)|652(4)|660(10)|674(2)|694(7)|711(13)|728(10)|743(14)|758(2)|770(15)|790(14)|800(10)|816(7)|828(4)|848(9)|865(6)|879(6)|892(15)|904(12)|915(7)|927(7)|940(6)|958(13)|971(12)|984(7)|1001(2)|1023(3) 0 https://youtu.be/_yhV44hachA YouTube video 0 Interview Introduction LB: Wonderful. I am going to read you this stuff because we’re recording now. This says -- oh, I have to turn off my phone, I want to do that. And I want to pin -- what we call pinning the video. And so, I’m going to pin this. There. That means that when we talk it doesn’t keep jumping back to me. Just your picture, so your picture is really big. Terrific, you look terrific. Let’s see, I did that, I did that, and I did the audio and the video. With this project, Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center and the Trexler Library at Muhlenberg College will collaborate on forty years of public health experiences in the Lehigh and the greater Lehigh Valley LGBT community, collecting and curating local LGBT health experiences from HIV/AIDS to COVID-19. My name is Liz Bradbury and I’m here with Anita Niles-Lee. 378 Husband losing job due to pandemic ANL: My husband and I have been basically strict quarantine since the second week in March. He lost his job, so that kind of made it easy to totally quarantine. He was working in New Jersey and his job is affiliated with the airline industry, which we all know how that is doing, so he was laid off pretty early in the process. 453 Husband losing family members to Covid-19 ANL: My husband has lost three family members actually. He lost three elderly members, one thought she had a cold. And it was within the second week, I think, that the virus broke out in New York. 512 Going out only for chores during the pandemic/Concerns about daughter's susceptibility to contracted Covid-19 ANL: We go out, we try to go out once a week very early in the morning just to chores. We never go out on weekends, weekends are -- we just lock down on the weekends. So, that’s pretty much been it. I’ve only seen my daughter once since -- my daughter who lives in Nazareth, we’ve only seen each other once since it started 695 Children's experiences with racism/Experiences during the pandemic ANL: I have Justin, who’s in LA doing very well. He actually went to one of the Black Lives Matter protests because he’s hard to keep down. And he’s active out there, but safe. They quarantine, they have a quarantine group, and those are the only people they’ve seen. He’s doing well. And as you know, my children are half-Chinese, so we have a lot of that going on too. LB: Has it been an issue? ANL: My daughter in Florida was called the N-word by someone in a car who rolled his window down, yelled at her, and that happened. 892 Communicating with family/Daughter's work during the pandemic ANL: [...] My daughter in Florida every day. We FaceTime at least once or twice a day. She has three kids. The oldest is five, the youngest are twins, they’re two and a half. So, she’s kind of going crazy with that. And she actually taught my oldest granddaughter how to call me. 1042 Concerns during the pandemic/Communicating with son/Adapting to life during the pandemic ANL: Well, I have to be honest, with the pandemic and what’s happening with the transgender community and their rights being taken away and Black Lives Matter, it’s just -- and the Asian whatever he calls it, I can’t even remember, I’m overwhelmed. And some days I wonder if we’re ever going to get out of it. 1187 President Donald Trump's anti-Asian Covid rhetoric/Concerns of rhetoric effecting husband ANL: And as soon as we were going to drive down, he started with the Asian stuff. And I said to Dan, I’m not comfortable with you driving back through the South by yourself. So, I’m kind of grounded now until something gives. LB: When you said he started with the Asian stuff, you’re talking about the president of the United States. 1368 Son's work as a writer LB: When you’re talking about the LGBT community, and I know Justin has been very significant in that community, he’s a writer, and has done some very significant work. What’s he working on now? ANL: Actually the Hulu new show, Love, Victor, he’s working on the second season for that show. 1411 Thoughts on Dr. Rachel Levine/President Trump's handling of the pandemic ANL: I adore her. (laughs) I’m always on Facebook as everybody pretty well knows, and some of the comments I get about that poor Dr. Levine are horrible, horrible. And I give her one-thousand percent credit for getting up there and doing what she does every day. She’s amazing, she’s amazing. She’s a hero, I have to say. 1536 Gardening during the pandemic ANL: We started, I call it my pandemic garden. Dan and I are die hard city people, so this is the first time we’ve ever really gardened. And I’m enjoying it. It’s actually brought us together. 1983 Stepping down from running PFLAG ANL: It had died down for a very, very long time. Sporadically I would get people asking for information and help over the internet, but the last year, after I think it was around December, I started hearing about a lot of young people getting upset with all that was going on with all the politics. So, someone had started the PFLAG chapter again, we had one meeting in February, and then the pandemic hit. I mean, I withdrew because I had differences with that person. 2142 Assisting young LGBT people ANL: Actually my -- my most recent call from help was a lady down in Florida. Someone I know in Florida gave her my number, and her daughter just started their hormone, their HRT, and she’s having a very hard time with going out and going shopping, and trying to be supportive but being stuck, and how they can get their medicine, and so I did a little research down that end of the town. But other than that it’s been quiet. 2371 Frustrations during the pandemic ANL: Every day I open my eyes and turn on the news. It’s almost like do I really even want to know. Daniel and I have it down to we’ll watch maybe morning news until nine o’clock and then it’s done. No more until maybe three o’clock and then it’s off for dinner time. Because you can’t. It was constant pounding and pounding. We avoid it. 2486 Reconnecting with people through FaceTime ANL: (laughs) I guess connecting with friends. People that, you know, we all work, but I guess I’m on the internet a lot, and I’ve -- people I went to grammar school with we’ve connected because everyone is home. I guess that was kind of fun. 2650 Estrangement from family members/Son's divorce ANL: Yeah. We’re estranged. The boys just -- it was -- there is always drama but when Justin and Adrian came out and someone asked me when they were getting married, is this a real wedding, how can this be a real -- I was like, done. I pretty much just said we just can’t talk anymore. 2747 Concerns over contracting Covid-19 ANL: [...] I was a heavy smoker for many, many years. I have COPD. [00:46:00] And my daughter’s husband left five weeks ago, and had I not had this terrible history of lung problems, I would have been on a plane. And I told her, if I come down there I can’t get sick. So, we’re just waiting until airlines figure something out. Because my husband, I won’t let him drive. 2933 Struggles with mental health during the pandemic ANL: [...] The depression, the depression for me was awful. And the anxiety. Every time I had to leave my house I would palpitate, I would sweat, it was horrible. I try not to leave now. 3016 Black Lives Matter protests during the pandemic/Stress over others not wearing masks LB: I know that you’ve seen this circumstance that happened here in Lehigh Valley with the police. ANL: Yes, yeah. LB: And I actually had an interview with someone at five o’clock, but I knew that she would want to go. She’s a younger person and she’s a person of color, and I knew that she would want to be at this thing. So, I said let’s do your thing tomorrow. And Adrian said, people should go out and our employees can go to join this march. 3216 Concerns over school/daycare openings LB: And if you have a -- when we are talking about opening schools and stuff, how can -- I have a friend who’s a pediatrician and she had people ask her, moms ask her, is it okay for my kid to go to daycare and she said, “Well, let me ask you this. When your kid goes to daycare, do they ever get a cold from anybody else at daycare, or the flu, or any other thing?” They get everything at daycare. ANL: Turbo germs. I call them turbo germs. 3322 Concerns over government's mismanagement of the pandemic effecting marginalized communities/Frustrations over pandemic deniers ANL: I have -- maybe it’s because I’m a person of color, I believe this is like his own private genocide. This is their way of getting rid of brown people, Black people, poor people, they don’t care. It’s like clear it out, we’ll buy up the real estate. It sounds very harsh and I know it’s like -- but that’s how I feel. LB: I totally understand. I understand exactly what you mean. 3455 Thoughts for the future ANL: That we weren’t crazy. We weren’t speaking hyperbolically. We were truth tellers. And it’s hard, I think, for people like us to understand people so full of hate and so full of anger. And it’s beyond me. And I always thought America pulled together. America was always the country, I’m sorry, that pulled together. (crying) And we’re not. MovingImage Anita discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting her and her family ; how her family has experienced racism and the rise of racism during the pandemic ; keeping in touch with her family ; the Black Lives Matter movement ; stepping down from PFLAG ; and gardening. Anita Niles-Lee 2020-07-13 LIZ BRADBURY: And you can actually see a little red dot actually and that means it&#039 ; s recording. Now if you look at your picture, you can see where your head is in the recording. So, you&#039 ; re not looking in the middle.  ANITA NILES-LEE: So I skootch?  LB: A little bit, but it will look like you have a halo. Which I think is kind of cute. (laughter) I&#039 ; m going to start my audio recording too, so that&#039 ; s good. There you go. So, we&#039 ; re recording. Now you really look -- ANL: Oh, I look like a painting. (laughs) LB: Wonderful. I am going to read you this stuff because we&#039 ; re recording now. This says -- oh, I have to turn off my phone, I want to do that. And I want to pin -- what we call pinning the video. And so, I&#039 ; m going to pin this. There. That means that when we talk it doesn&#039 ; t keep jumping back to me. Just your picture, so your picture is really big. Terrific, you look terrific. Let&#039 ; s see, I did that, I did that, and I did the audio and the video. With this project, Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center and the Trexler Library at Muhlenberg College will collaborate on forty years of public health experiences in the Lehigh and the greater Lehigh Valley LGBT community, collecting and curating local LGBT health experiences from HIV/AIDS to COVID-19. My name is Liz Bradbury and I&#039 ; m here with Anita Niles-Lee. ANL: Niles-Lee, yes.  LB: To talk about her experiences in the Lehigh Valley and also regarding the LGBT community during this time of the COVID pandemic, COVID-19 pandemic, as part of the LGBT Community Archive. Today is the 13th, Monday July 13, 2020, and thank you so much for your willingness to speak with us today. To start can you please state your full name and spell it for me.  ANL: My name is Anita Niles-Lee. It&#039 ; s A-N, like Nancy, I-T-A, Niles, N-I-L-E-S, hyphen Lee, L-E-E.  LB: And will you please share your birthdate. Now some people said they didn&#039 ; t want to give the year, I&#039 ; ve been fine with it, doesn&#039 ; t matter either way. ANL: At this age I was born on May 12, 1959. (laughs) LB: You&#039 ; re a baby. Okay. What town are you in?  ANL: I&#039 ; m Reeders, Monroe County.  LB: Reeders.  ANL: Right, if you look on the map it&#039 ; s labeled Stroudsburg, but it&#039 ; s really Reeders.  LB: You&#039 ; re in the Stroudsburg area. ANL: Yes. LB: Okay, great. This is the consent portion. Do you consent to this interview today?  ANL: Yes, I do. LB: Do you consent to having this interview being transcribed, digitized, and made publically available online in searchable formats?  ANL: Yes, I do. LB: Do you consent to the LGBT Archive using your interview for educational purposes in other formats including films, articles, and websites, presentations, and anything that we may not know of.  ANL: Anything to help. LB: Great. So, yes is the answer to that.  ANL: Absolutely yes.  LB: And do you understand that you&#039 ; ll have thirty days after the electronic delivery of the transcript to review your interview and to identify parts that you&#039 ; d like to delete or change, or withdraw your interview from the project because you just don&#039 ; t think it&#039 ; s good enough. If you want to do that you can. ANL: Yes, I understand.  LB: Great. And so, I&#039 ; m just going to ask you a couple of questions that are demographic questions. One of the things we ask people is, we ask people about their sexual orientation and gender identity, and I&#039 ; d like for you to just kind of fill in because you are an important part of the LGBT community, how that works for you.  ANL: I am heterosexual. Is that what you want me to say?  LB: And cis gender I think you are? Right?  ANL: I am cis gender, yes.  LB: But I think also you&#039 ; re really an integral part of the -- or have been an integral part of the LGBT community along with your family members, so do you want to say something about that?  ANL: Well, when my son came out in the late nineties, my family, we were taken by surprise, I guess you could say, so he had given us a book, I don&#039 ; t remember the name of the book, but at the end of the book they mentioned PFLAG. So, my husband and I found the Allentown chapter of PFLAG at that time with Don and Melinda Kohn. And when we went there we were absolutely blown away by the support and the love that PFLAG offered. And we realized in our area, which isn&#039 ; t far from Lehigh Valley, but in Stroudsburg that&#039 ; s like light years away, we needed something in the area. So, we started PFLAG Monroe County back in I think it was &#039 ; 98 or &#039 ; 99.  LB: Yeah, that was great that you did that. Thank you for doing that.  ANL: Long time. (laughs) LB: I need to ask you what your zip code is.  ANL: 18360. LB: Okay. And it does say what is your age on here, which I think you kind of identified by giving your -- but anyway.  ANL: Sixty-one. (laughs)  LB: And I&#039 ; ve asked you already about how you identify within the community, which you&#039 ; ve said. Here are some things -- and then there&#039 ; s a bunch of different questions on here, I&#039 ; ve already sent you these questions, but I just really going to start it out, you know, you can talk about anything you want with regard to the COVID pandemic and how it&#039 ; s affecting you, and you don&#039 ; t have to talk about all the questions that I asked, but let&#039 ; s start out with just asking are you home, are you working or are you at home, or what&#039 ; s going on for you? ANL: My husband and I have been basically strict quarantine since the second week in March. He lost his job, so that kind of made it easy to totally quarantine. He was working in New Jersey and his job is affiliated with the airline industry, which we all know how that is doing, so he was laid off pretty early in the process.  LB: I see. Yeah. I lost one of my pages of questions. ANL: Oh, take your time.  LB: You probably have them there. But let&#039 ; s talk about -- oh for heaven&#039 ; s sakes. I can&#039 ; t even search for it on my -- do you have the questions there, the other questions?  ANL: You know what, I have them on my phone if I can just get up and get my phone.  LB: I have them on the phone. Never mind, I can look them up. I&#039 ; ll look on my phone and we&#039 ; ll just pray that it doesn&#039 ; t ring. Talk a little bit about before as we&#039 ; re doing this, let&#039 ; s talk about if you know anybody who&#039 ; s had the illness or -- ANL: My husband has lost three family members actually. He lost three elderly members, one thought she had a cold. And it was within the second week, I think, that the virus broke out in New York. And they brought her into the emergency room and never saw her again. And another in New Jersey was high risk and he managed -- he caught it. And he just lost another relative in Brooklyn last week, all in their 80s, all really, really frail. But nonetheless.  LB: Here we go. I&#039 ; m good now. How has that affected -- I mean, both of you are at home and you&#039 ; re not going out. Are you not going at all or you&#039 ; re just going out really carefully? What&#039 ; s the circumstances?  ANL: We go out, we try to go out once a week very early in the morning just to chores. We never go out on weekends, weekends are -- we just lock down on the weekends. So, that&#039 ; s pretty much been it. I&#039 ; ve only seen my daughter once since -- my daughter who lives in Nazareth, we&#039 ; ve only seen each other once since it started. She went back to work last week and I&#039 ; m terrified because she has a congenital heart disease and her going back to work if she catches this it will kill her. It&#039 ; s been really hairy.  LB: What does she do?  ANL: She works at one of the restaurants in the Valley. A rather well-known restaurant but they&#039 ; re not following precautions, so it&#039 ; s really scary. It&#039 ; s really scary.  LB: I had hoped to interview a couple people, people you probably know who have had it themselves, and they&#039 ; re actually so affected by it, I mean, they&#039 ; re better, but the effect it had on them is so serious that they can&#039 ; t talk about it. ANL: I can&#039 ; t -- yeah, I can&#039 ; t imagine. And his first family member, because of the way it was they couldn&#039 ; t even have a funeral. It was just -- it&#039 ; s that bad. And I&#039 ; m just astounded by my daughter tells me people are in restaurants without their masks, and laughing, and joking, and making fun of the workers. They grabbed a lady&#039 ; s hand and went, &quot ; Ha, ha, &#039 ; rona, &#039 ; rona.&quot ; Yeah, it&#039 ; s bad. And I find it frightening, I find it very frightening.  LB: That&#039 ; s terrible. It&#039 ; s so upsetting. I mean, you can&#039 ; t -- and so, does she have any recourse in situations like that? I guess if it&#039 ; s in a restaurant it&#039 ; s hard to require people to cover their mouths.  ANL: Well, I think what the employees are thinking of doing is just reporting that they&#039 ; re not following guidelines. They don&#039 ; t know, but they&#039 ; re hoping maybe it can get them fined, or shut down, or just bring attention to the matter because when someone did complain to an owner he said, well, if you leave we&#039 ; ll take it as your resignation. I think the only recourse they have is to report it and hope that someone comes in and does something so they&#039 ; ll take it seriously. Yeah.  LB: Yeah. And you have other -- do you have just two kids?  ANL: I have Justin, who&#039 ; s in LA doing very well. He actually went to one of the Black Lives Matter protests because he&#039 ; s hard to keep down. And he&#039 ; s active out there, but safe. They quarantine, they have a quarantine group, and those are the only people they&#039 ; ve seen. He&#039 ; s doing well. And as you know, my children are half-Chinese, so we have a lot of that going on too.  LB: Has it been an issue? ANL: My daughter in Florida was called the N-word by someone in a car who rolled his window down, yelled at her, and that happened. My other daughter was coming out of a Target and got the ching-chong, you know, go back to China. Other lovely stuff is going on in the world these days.  LB: Has that caused them to also not want to go out? Have they had job discrimination?  ANL: My daughter in Florida has been in quarantine -- you&#039 ; re going to think I&#039 ; m telling you a soap opera. Her and her husband separated during the pandemic. So, she&#039 ; s quarantined with the three babies, and Nana can&#039 ; t get down there. So, there&#039 ; s that. And my daughter in Nazareth her boyfriend won&#039 ; t let her go out by herself at night anymore. He just -- it&#039 ; s safer for her to stay at home. And Justin seems to be doing well. He&#039 ; s working, it hasn&#039 ; t really affected his work. He&#039 ; s just more upset with all the garbage that&#039 ; s going around right now.  LB: So, it&#039 ; s just you and Daniel in your home?  ANL: Yes, just us chickens. (laughs) LB: Now at least you&#039 ; re not alone. Can you imagine what that would be like to be since March? I mean, Trish and I have been together here completely sequestered since March, we&#039 ; ve hardly been out at all. It&#039 ; s so tough. And to think about the -- ANL: That&#039 ; s why I guess Justin was really smart because before, like right at the beginning, he and three other friends decided that they would all quarantine. And once every Friday night they would go to each -- just so they weren&#039 ; t alone all this time. And when they started protesting, that person was left out of the group, quarantined for two weeks, got tested, and then they&#039 ; d start again. They seem to have worked out a good system for themselves.  LB: It&#039 ; s really entertaining and very positive to hear about smart people.  ANL: (laughs) Really. LB: Are you talking to him, do you find that you&#039 ; re talking to your family more on the phone? Are you doing video communicating too? ANL: Yeah. My daughter in Florida every day. We FaceTime at least once or twice a day. She has three kids. The oldest is five, the youngest are twins, they&#039 ; re two and a half. So, she&#039 ; s kind of going crazy with that. And she actually taught my oldest granddaughter how to call me. My daughter works until three in the morning, so at seven o&#039 ; clock the babies will call me, and I pretty much FaceTime babysit for a while in the morning just so she can rest. It&#039 ; s wild. It&#039 ; s so wild.  LB: She&#039 ; s working a regular job?  ANL: She&#039 ; s an ASL interpreter. She hasn&#039 ; t worked since the pandemic because she worked mostly in hospitals and she&#039 ; s afraid to bring it home. So, she does Zoom work, and she works at night doing video relay for the deaf. That&#039 ; s how she&#039 ; s surviving until I get down there and she can get back into the community. LB: Is she in St. Augustine?  ANL: No, she&#039 ; s in Odessa. It&#039 ; s right outside Tampa.  LB: Yeah, I know it, yeah. ANL: Yeah, they have a huge deaf community down there.  LB: I know.  ANL: And she loves her work, she doesn&#039 ; t want to give that up.  LB: Is she deaf?  ANL: No.  LB: She got into that in college?  ANL: Honestly she watched The Miracle Worker when she was ten, and that&#039 ; s all she ever wanted to do. It was phenomenal. She never forgot.  LB: The one with Patty Duke?  ANL: Absolutely, the old black and white one. I like old films.  LB: Anne Bancroft is so hot in that.  ANL: Isn&#039 ; t she? (laughs) I have always loved Patty Duke.  LB: (inaudible) about lesbians in it that every lesbian heard. I think that&#039 ; s amazing.  ANL: Mrs. Robinson, come on.  LB: True. But in that movie she actually makes a comment about women going after younger women. And when I first saw that when I was a kid I went -- Anne Bancroft is so hot. What&#039 ; s your biggest concern about all this stuff then? What&#039 ; s been happening?  ANL: Well, I have to be honest, with the pandemic and what&#039 ; s happening with the transgender community and their rights being taken away and Black Lives Matter, it&#039 ; s just -- and the Asian whatever he calls it, I can&#039 ; t even remember, I&#039 ; m overwhelmed. And some days I wonder if we&#039 ; re ever going to get out of it. They hate. And I guess because I&#039 ; m affected from so many different aspects. I just feel like I&#039 ; m underwater sometimes.  LB: Going back a little bit to communications, have you been communicating with Justin and stuff so you can see him, or mostly just on the phone?  ANL: We text every day. We have a group text. At least once a day everybody will send a silly picture or just a stupid, something to make everyone laugh, and so we know we&#039 ; re all okay. We&#039 ; ve been doing it since the start. And once a week we try to call. We&#039 ; ve had four Facebook birthday parties. (laughs) And even down in Florida the kids had a parade of cars. Instead of a birthday party all their friends drove by in -- we&#039 ; re adapting, I guess. LB: They&#039 ; re too young to go to school, so at least you don&#039 ; t have to worry about that too much, about having to go to school. ANL: My five year old starts kindergarten. Yeah, well, her mom registered her for virtual school. Hopefully it&#039 ; s not one of the programs that DeSantis decided to cut. You can&#039 ; t win. LB: We have to worry about the way that Pennsylvania is, but it&#039 ; s so crazy in Florida. We go to Florida all the time. I said we&#039 ; re not going to be able to go to Florida for years.  ANL: Yeah. I mean, we want to drive down because of her situation because I&#039 ; m planning to stay there until the little one starts kindergarten because daycare is out of the question. And as soon as we were going to drive down, he started with the Asian stuff. And I said to Dan, I&#039 ; m not comfortable with you driving back through the South by yourself. So, I&#039 ; m kind of grounded now until something gives.  LB: When you said he started with the Asian stuff, you&#039 ; re talking about the president of the United States.  ANL: Yes, yes.  LB: This Archive is possibly going to be viewed by people thirty year from now, and when we talk about this kind of stuff, we may not -- I know exactly what you mean.  ANL: Saying that name leaves a bad taste.  LB: I just read a thing saying don&#039 ; t say his name, forty-five is fine. But I think that people may not understand, and I&#039 ; m really glad I&#039 ; m talking to you about this because as a mom dealing with this from so many different angles and it&#039 ; s very serious. People aren&#039 ; t going to understand this unless we do these kind of archives for that history.  ANL: It&#039 ; s true. I mean, a neighbor, she&#039 ; s like why don&#039 ; t you just drive? I&#039 ; m like because my husband is a 61 year old Asian man who will be driving back probably at night through the South and no thank you. I just can&#039 ; t even imagine it. And we don&#039 ; t think like that. LB: I know. Well, it&#039 ; s terrible. It&#039 ; s a terrible situation. We have Asian people in our family too and we were asking -- one of them has been sick and has recovered, she&#039 ; s a young person, and so she really has a high level of antibodies, she&#039 ; s really safe, she can&#039 ; t get it, and she can&#039 ; t give it to anybody else, but she&#039 ; s Chinese, and I&#039 ; m worried about her to send her into a store because I don&#039 ; t want her to have to deal with that kind of stuff. People need to start thinking about this stuff. ANL: I guess I&#039 ; m different. I kind of raised my kids to be different because I grew up in Chinatown, New York in the seventies and I was the different person where I grew up. And I was the one that was bullied, and I was the one that was out-casted. I used to tell them, you&#039 ; re not going to sit in the back of anyone&#039 ; s bus. And as time went on I realized it&#039 ; s like, Anita, you kind of have to put your money where your mouth is. And my kids always had it in the back of their heads that we&#039 ; re different, we have to be careful. And I kind of knock on wood these days that they were raised that way.  LB: Yeah. Well, you did a good job. ANL: Thank you. LB: When you&#039 ; re talking about the LGBT community, and I know Justin has been very significant in that community, he&#039 ; s a writer, and has done some very significant work. What&#039 ; s he working on now?  ANL: Actually the Hulu new show, Love, Victor, he&#039 ; s working on the second season for that show. He&#039 ; s doing that now actually. He has a few movies in the works, things being transferred from play to movie. He&#039 ; s doing very well, god bless him. Can&#039 ; t complain. (laughs) LB: Well, we&#039 ; re lucky. I know one of the good thing about our community and being in the state of Pennsylvania is that we&#039 ; re in a state with a governor that is smart, and we also have a really terrific Secretary of Health. Want to talk about that? Talk about that.  ANL: I adore her. (laughs) I&#039 ; m always on Facebook as everybody pretty well knows, and some of the comments I get about that poor Dr. Levine are horrible, horrible. And I give her one-thousand percent credit for getting up there and doing what she does every day. She&#039 ; s amazing, she&#039 ; s amazing. She&#039 ; s a hero, I have to say. LB: She is. And we&#039 ; re lucky to be in a state where at least we have a governor and a Secretary of Health who says science things.  ANL: Absolutely. Absolutely. I worry now that Mr. Trump is now trying to discredit Dr. Fauci. That has me concerned. I mean, when doctors say that patients are telling them they&#039 ; re lying, you&#039 ; re telling me I have it and I don&#039 ; t because it&#039 ; s -- have you ever? Never.  LB: Can&#039 ; t imagine, I can&#039 ; t understand why. It&#039 ; s this whole thing of sort of wanting something, it&#039 ; s like a little kid that wants something to be a way, so they just won&#039 ; t listen to anything.  ANL: I can&#039 ; t fathom it. And that he has a cult. I&#039 ; m sorry, that&#039 ; s what I call them. There&#039 ; s no rhyme or reason. LB: Yeah. (laughs) I have questions on here that don&#039 ; t apply to you, they have to do with queer dating hook-up sites, probably you&#039 ; re not using those. ANL: No, I haven&#039 ; t used those. (laughs) LB: Let&#039 ; s talk about like what things have changed in your life? Things that have specifically changed in your life that are happening now, what stuff is -- in a way because Daniel is not working, you don&#039 ; t have to worry about him working, so there&#039 ; s that.  ANL: Thank god.  LB: But, I mean, if you&#039 ; ve been in since March, Trish and I have been too really, it&#039 ; s interesting to imagine that we&#039 ; ve done things that we would not have normally done.  ANL: Yeah. LB: Have you done that?  ANL: We started, I call it my pandemic garden. Dan and I are die hard city people, so this is the first time we&#039 ; ve ever really gardened. And I&#039 ; m enjoying it. It&#039 ; s actually brought us together. At the beginning we were almost ready to kill each other. It was just the closeness and I guess all the stress, and everything was just so horrible. And I just said, why don&#039 ; t we do a garden. And it&#039 ; s been healing. I found it healing.  LB: It&#039 ; s a flower garden or a vegetable garden?  ANL: A vegetable garden. And I even had potatoes in honor of you and Trish because I look at your pictures every year and I&#039 ; m amazed.  LB: I&#039 ; m going to send you stuff to put in your garden. (inaudible) onions, which are perennials. I think yeah, this is the -- usually we go away and we don&#039 ; t get a chance -- because we&#039 ; re aware we have another person water it, but they&#039 ; re not weeding it, and he actually came and saw the garden and said, this is the best I&#039 ; ve actually seen the garden. And I said, yep, because we&#039 ; re maniacally -- ANL: Pull weeds. (laughs)  LB: What do you have in the garden?  ANL: I have potatoes, and I&#039 ; m growing garlic, and broccoli, and cauliflower, and squash, and you name it, I&#039 ; ve got it out there. But we did kind of let the cucumbers get this big. We&#039 ; re learning.  LB: Here is something you can plant. The next time you go to the grocery store, if you go to an organic, a place that has organic vegetables, get a celery, a full sized celery. Then cut the bottom off. Do you have celery in the garden?  ANL: Actually I have celery in my refrigerator as we speak. LB: Well, cut the bottom off and take that bottom and put it in a little thing of water, not up real high, and grow some roots out of the bottom of the thing, you know where the bottom is -- ANL: Really?  LB: Once those grow down and you&#039 ; ve got a little bit of roots, you can put it in the garden, water it like a regular thing, and celery will grow out of it. We have celery in our garden now that is growing.  ANL: That is phenomenal, I have to do that.  LB: It&#039 ; s really terrific. If it&#039 ; s organic then it will grow more, but it should probably even work if it isn&#039 ; t organic, but it should be okay. And we have two plants that we started earlier and we actually had one other celery plant that came from Rodale, but it&#039 ; s been -- it&#039 ; s very successful. It&#039 ; s very easy to grow that. And you know how you can -- and then when it&#039 ; s time to eat it, and you can eat it when it&#039 ; s small too, you just cut the pieces off, you don&#039 ; t have to pull it out, so that it keeps -- ANL: Pull the whole thing, yeah. I&#039 ; ve actually gotten into on Facebook, I found a group, Beneficial Weeds. I&#039 ; m learning which weeds in my garden can be used as tea, and salves, and all this other -- it&#039 ; s pretty fascinating.  LB: Purslane.  ANL: Yes, I have tons of it. I actually had chamomile and I never knew it.  LB: That&#039 ; s wonderful. Good for you, Anita, that&#039 ; s really a good thing. So, that&#039 ; s something you&#039 ; re doing that you normally wouldn&#039 ; t do.  ANL: No, I never would have even fathomed it. I&#039 ; m learning that we can make ourselves happy sometimes. And that&#039 ; s what we&#039 ; re doing. Dan and I have found new ways to connect now that there&#039 ; s no kids.  LB: Are you growing green beans?  ANL: No, we didn&#039 ; t do green beans. We&#039 ; re going to do them next year. But I am growing Chinese ginger.  LB: That&#039 ; s a -- ginger is -- ANL: I love Chinese ginger.  LB: Sure.  ANL: I have a friend next year sending me seeds from Hong Kong.  LB: Now you know that the thing we grow, we don&#039 ; t grow potatoes anymore, we grow sweet potatoes. So, that&#039 ; s what we really grow.  ANL: How do you do that? It&#039 ; s not like regular potatoes, right?  LB: There&#039 ; s two ways of doing it and we actually get a company sends us the little starter sweet potatoes and they&#039 ; re like roots and we plant those, we get about fifty of those and we plant those in the garden. But you can also do it just by getting an organic sweet potato from the store, especially one that might have sprouted a little bit, and then just do that thing that you do when you sort of put it in water with some toothpicks and stuff so that it sprouts up. Then if you plant the whole thing in the ground, it will begin to have leaves, and it will get roots, and it will grow the potato.  ANL: Well, then I might have a sweet potato out there. We had one and I told him, I said, oh just plant it. But then I was reading and I said, it doesn&#039 ; t sound like we&#039 ; re going to get any but you can eat the leaves.  LB: You can eat the leaves. They&#039 ; re called Kumara, yeah. ANL: I found a Chinese recipe for them. So, we&#039 ; re going to try them. LB: You can eat the leaves. They&#039 ; re like lettuce, it tastes like lettuce or spinach, sort of a halfway between lettuce and spinach. And they&#039 ; re so prolific, you can get so many leaves. But the thing about sweet potatoes is they&#039 ; re a very, very long season. So, if you planted it in the spring, when did you plant it about?  ANL: I think I planted it in the beginning of May.  LB: Well, if you leave it all the way, don&#039 ; t be tempted to dig it up until it starts to freeze. And then -- ANL: Really? LB: Yeah. Because they&#039 ; re a long season. And so, if you get Georgia Jets, which are the red ones, those are the fastest because they&#039 ; re called Jets. And you might have a hard time getting, but you absolutely can eat the leaves. And if you dig down and you really don&#039 ; t see anything, leave it there until next year. (overlapping dialogue ; inaudible) itself next year. Another thing is if you take the vines and you bury the vines, they will get roots that will go down and make potatoes too. ANL: Now that&#039 ; s probably what he&#039 ; ll do because he loves doing stuff like that. Thank you for the tips.  LB: Yeah, those are great though. That&#039 ; s our biggest crop. We get so many sweet potatoes that there are enough for the whole year. We&#039 ; ll give you the name of the place where we get the roots from. But you really can grow from it from sweet potatoes from the store.  ANL: It&#039 ; s amazing. Well, I&#039 ; ll let you know what happens. Because I have that one growing. LB: I&#039 ; m dying to know. That sounds terrific. You were running PFLAG for so long, are you not doing that as much now? What&#039 ; s the plan? What&#039 ; s the deal?  ANL: It had died down for a very, very long time. Sporadically I would get people asking for information and help over the internet, but the last year, after I think it was around December, I started hearing about a lot of young people getting upset with all that was going on with all the politics. So, someone had started the PFLAG chapter again, we had one meeting in February, and then the pandemic hit. I mean, I withdrew because I had differences with that person. I didn&#039 ; t think that -- we had different ideas of ways of -- so, I decided that I would step down and we&#039 ; ll see what happens. Hopefully everything will go well. LB: If you get calls from people, particular families of transgender youth, we have now we&#039 ; re running at the Community Center twice a month, a virtual Zoom meetings for families of transgender kids.  ANL: Right, that&#039 ; s where I always refer everyone, Bradbury-Sullivan Center is the place to go.  LB: Feel free to send them directly to me if you think because -- although we have fourteen employees now, which is amazing.  ANL: Wow. That&#039 ; s fantastic. LB: So, we have fourteen wonderful employees and they&#039 ; re wonderful, they&#039 ; re just incredible, and Adrian is wonderful. But a lot of times when people call, they have very time consuming jobs, and I still run the info line so that if people call and they need somebody to talk to and ask questions, they don&#039 ; t always have -- there&#039 ; s not always an opportunity for them to have the kind of information from -- some of our employees are new to the community so they can&#039 ; t refer -- like if (inaudible) or anybody who&#039 ; s LGBT in Stroudsburg, they don&#039 ; t even know what (inaudible) is, much less -- ANL: Yeah. No, I always refer everyone to you guys because I mean, up here it&#039 ; s sparse. And it tends to get sticky up here at times. So, I always, you guys are like number one on my, you&#039 ; re on my rapid dial. (laughs) LB: Do you know or has anybody contacted you or people who are being out during the pandemic that are finding that to be -- because some youth are having problems with it.  ANL: Actually my -- my most recent call from help was a lady down in Florida. Someone I know in Florida gave her my number, and her daughter just started their hormone, their HRT, and she&#039 ; s having a very hard time with going out and going shopping, and trying to be supportive but being stuck, and how they can get their medicine, and so I did a little research down that end of the town. But other than that it&#039 ; s been quiet. It seems to be a lot of elderly people trying to accept. Because the kids seem to be doing wonderfully. At our PFLAG meeting, the one meeting we had, we had a lady from Lehighton bring her five year old transgender daughter. But the baby was hiding under the table the whole time, so insecure, and my heart, my heart. But I told her, I said try calling you guys, you might know other little ones that maybe they can do playdates. And so, hopefully she called.  LB: Adrian was working on a process, a potential program, and you know we have to have funding for all these things to pay for anybody because we can&#039 ; t just have a program, we have to have funding, we have to have support, and really set it all up and stuff. But he was working on a program for LGBT families with kids. So, it could be that the kids are LGBT, little kids, so little kids, we&#039 ; re talking about little kids, zero to six, because kids are looking for playdates with other kids who are LGBT or families who are pro-LGBT. It could be two lesbians, it could be two gay men, who have kids, or it could be trans families that have kids, or it could be families that have little kids that are trans or who are -- ANL: Yeah, it seems like it would be beneficial because this lady was desperate. She has to homeschool because when she wants to wear a dress to school people make fun. The school wasn&#039 ; t cooperative with pronouns and things. And she said she&#039 ; s in a backwards area where there&#039 ; s nothing for her either. I&#039 ; ll contact her and find out if she talked to you guys yet.  LB: Well, I can say that the most recent Supreme Court decision, the Bostock Decision, that&#039 ; s a pretty good decision for us. It&#039 ; s about employment, it&#039 ; s not about schools, but the precedent that it set was very significant. So, things are going to change with regard to that. ANL: Yeah, it just takes time. LB: It does, but when you have the law behind you, the school has to do the right thing. Right now they don&#039 ; t, but it&#039 ; s going to be that they&#039 ; re going to have to because of the Bostock decision. ANL: And those babies, those babies need it, they really do. LB: They do, they really do. It&#039 ; s absolutely true. I&#039 ; m trying to get back to my questions. I lost them. There I go. So, what&#039 ; s the biggest frustration you&#039 ; re having? You&#039 ; re talking a lot about -- I understand the fears, we all have these, and I&#039 ; m so glad that you&#039 ; ve got the gardening thing going. But are you having day to day frustrations?  ANL: Every day I open my eyes and turn on the news. It&#039 ; s almost like do I really even want to know. Daniel and I have it down to we&#039 ; ll watch maybe morning news until nine o&#039 ; clock and then it&#039 ; s done. No more until maybe three o&#039 ; clock and then it&#039 ; s off for dinner time. Because you can&#039 ; t. It was constant pounding and pounding. We avoid it. And it&#039 ; s frustrating that I feel we can&#039 ; t go to a lot of places now because the way things are, people aren&#039 ; t very friendly or very kind. I even told him when he lost his job, way at the beginning, before any of the nonsense, I was like for some reason I think maybe it&#039 ; s better. It&#039 ; s just it&#039 ; s frustrating that my daughter is by herself, I can&#039 ; t get down there to be with her. My son is in LA. He&#039 ; s got his support group but you know, family, to be there. And he can&#039 ; t come home to visit like he usually does. I haven&#039 ; t seen him since Christmas. And like I said, with my youngest working in the atmosphere she works in with a bad heart. It&#039 ; s tough. LB: It really is. It&#039 ; s really tough. What&#039 ; s the best thing you experienced? Besides the garden? Although the garden sounds really good. ANL: (laughs) I guess connecting with friends. People that, you know, we all work, but I guess I&#039 ; m on the internet a lot, and I&#039 ; ve -- people I went to grammar school with we&#039 ; ve connected because everyone is home. I guess that was kind of fun.  LB: People who have been contacting you and saying, just checking in to see if you&#039 ; re okay, that kind of stuff?  ANL: Yes, like hey, is this the [Amy Sitsinbrino?] from Transfiguration in 1972? (laughs) And it&#039 ; s like yes, it&#039 ; s me. It&#039 ; s just been wild, it&#039 ; s been wild. So, I&#039 ; m not missing going out. LB: That&#039 ; s because people are home and they&#039 ; re thinking oh, let me look up this person kind of deal. Is that what&#039 ; s happened?  ANL: Or a memory just pops in your head and you&#039 ; re I wonder what&#039 ; s up with them. It&#039 ; s been a very strange kind of fun.  LB: Now that you have this Zoom capability -- ANL: I know, my husband is never going to see me again.  LB: You can see how really real it is. It&#039 ; s different than a little phone thing or something. It&#039 ; s really real time. You&#039 ; re really talking to the person like they&#039 ; re there almost.  ANL: Yeah, well, we do this on FaceTime. I think FaceTime is pretty much the same thing. But nothing replaces a hug. LB: That&#039 ; s true. The big difference I think between Zoom and FaceTime, and I don&#039 ; t know FaceTime that well, but it&#039 ; s much easier on Zoom to have multiple people.  ANL: Yeah, yeah. FaceTime when we do it for our little birthday parties, it takes a few shots before we get it the right way.  LB: Yeah, yeah. So, think about how techy you&#039 ; re becoming now. ANL: I know. I have to say I impressed myself with this.  LB: You did. You&#039 ; re brilliant. Thank God that we have this ability to do this, to communicate with people. ANL: Yeah, it makes you miss, like my mom and dad died like five and three years ago, respectively. And too bad, they just missed it, the ability to see all -- to have the grandkids and everything, the great grandkids.  LB: Were they in New York?  ANL: Yeah, they never left.  LB: Do you have other family members in New York?  ANL: Yeah. We&#039 ; re estranged. The boys just -- it was -- there is always drama but when Justin and Adrian came out and someone asked me when they were getting married, is this a real wedding, how can this be a real -- I was like, done. I pretty much just said we just can&#039 ; t talk anymore.  LB: Are they married, Justin and Adrian? ANL: They were. Unfortunately Hollywood. That&#039 ; s what I say, Hollywood. Their divorce is in the process. Justin&#039 ; s found a new person. And Adrian&#039 ; s still my son. LB: He&#039 ; s a wonderful guy. They had been together a long time.  ANL: Seventeen and they&#039 ; re thirty-seven, twenty years. They grew up together. But, you know, they&#039 ; re amicable. And I told Adrian, you&#039 ; ll always be my baby. Yeah, what are you doing to do. He&#039 ; s like Mommy, I&#039 ; m so -- I&#039 ; m like no, no, no sorry, it&#039 ; s life, it happens. We&#039 ; re okay.  LB: It happens.  ANL: Yeah, I can&#039 ; t -- he was my baby too, I can&#039 ; t. And Justin&#039 ; s okay with that.  LB: Okay, well that&#039 ; s good. Good for him. How worried are you about you getting it?  ANL: Terrified. I was a heavy smoker for many, many years. I have COPD. And my daughter&#039 ; s husband left five weeks ago, and had I not had this terrible history of lung problems, I would have been on a plane. And I told her, if I come down there I can&#039 ; t get sick. So, we&#039 ; re just waiting until airlines figure something out. Because my husband, I won&#039 ; t let him drive.  LB: It&#039 ; s complicated. And it&#039 ; s not like you can take a bus or something. ANL: Simple little things. I mean, you know every three months I was on a plane back and forth and it&#039 ; s all stopped. I haven&#039 ; t seen them since Christmas and my heart breaks.  LB: Such a complicated thing. And is Daniel at risk? He seems like a big strapping guy.   ANL: No, he&#039 ; s pretty healthy. He has borderline diabetes, it&#039 ; s not full-fledged, but we still won&#039 ; t take chances. It&#039 ; s just not -- especially that his family is like -- yeah, it&#039 ; s kind of bowling them over so, no thank you, we&#039 ; ll stay home. LB: I don&#039 ; t mean to point this out, but I&#039 ; m quite a bit older than you, but we&#039 ; re older and they&#039 ; re saying that people over 45 are at a much higher risk.  ANL: Yeah, it&#039 ; s true, it&#039 ; s scary. And I know what it&#039 ; s like not to be able to breathe. I mean, if it&#039 ; s anything like that it&#039 ; s scary. And to have to go through it alone?  LB: The second layer of it, that whole thing of getting it and then like I know somebody who had it and it was devastatingly hard for her, but she had family and she also has a lot of medical connections, like she has healthcare connections. If she hadn&#039 ; t had that, if she&#039 ; d been -- in fact, I can think of three people who had it, had they been well they would have died, just no question that they would have died. ANL: Yeah, it&#039 ; s horrible. And I mean, not only is it hard for the person with it, but for the family. His cousins were totally locked out, they had no information until she passed away. LB: Was she in New York City?  ANL: New York City during the first three weeks. LB: Oh no.  ANL: When everything was berserk. And she thought it was a cold. They took her to the emergency room, the staff converged, and everyone had to leave, and that was it. They didn&#039 ; t know until she passed.  LB: That&#039 ; s awful. Do you think this is like, and I know how it is for me, but in terms of mental health, I don&#039 ; t see how it can&#039 ; t affect people every day.  ANL: Oh it does. The depression, the depression for me was awful. And the anxiety. Every time I had to leave my house I would palpitate, I would sweat, it was horrible. I try not to leave now. And like I said, Dan and I will go out at six, seven in the morning. And we went to I think it was Walmart and it was frightening. It was crowded, no masks, it was horrifying. There was a young woman there carrying a baby, no mask, no nothing, and I was horrified. And that was it, I told him after that. I stayed in bed for two days after that. And I kind of told him, I said I can&#039 ; t do that. But I have to be in open air. I&#039 ; ll go to the farmer&#039 ; s market, I&#039 ; ll go to the farm store, but Giant and -- no, I can&#039 ; t. It&#039 ; s horrifying. LB: You can&#039 ; t control the other people and they&#039 ; re the ones that are putting you at risk. I know that you&#039 ; ve seen this circumstance that happened here in Lehigh Valley with the police.  ANL: Yes, yeah.  LB: And I actually had an interview with someone at five o&#039 ; clock, but I knew that she would want to go. She&#039 ; s a younger person and she&#039 ; s a person of color, and I knew that she would want to be at this thing. So, I said let&#039 ; s do your thing tomorrow. And Adrian said, people should go out and our employees can go to join this march. But then he went on to say, if you&#039 ; re not at risk. And I look at the videos of the first march, which was on Saturday, late Saturday night, and most of the people, because these are Black Lives Matters marches and they wore the mask. I saw one person, but I also noticed that the police were not wearing masks. And some of them were, but most of them weren&#039 ; t. And some of the elected officials weren&#039 ; t wearing masks. And I also saw somebody who had their mask not covering their face. And I know these people are chanting and shouting. And I understand why, I understand exactly why, but I cannot be around a bunch of people who are chanting, and shouting, and screaming, even though I want to be, that&#039 ; s where my heart is. ANL: It&#039 ; s true. Justin stayed in for most of the protests. The first one he went to was the big one in LA for the Black Lives Matter at the Pride Black Lives Matter, he went to that one. And he showed pictures, they were like this. But they were all masked. And he went and got tested and all of them tested negative. So, I&#039 ; m thinking maybe protesting is not as bad as indoors.  LB: Well, if you&#039 ; re outside and everybody is wearing a mask. I think with a lot of those protests for Black Lives Matter protests, you can count on those people being very careful and not wanting, not getting close if they can avoid it, and I know these people didn&#039 ; t do it either. But you don&#039 ; t need a lot of people to infect a big group. You have one person can infect a lot of people and it doesn&#039 ; t matter if you&#039 ; re wearing a mask. ANL: And not only that, saying something isn&#039 ; t easy either because you always have to wonder what&#039 ; s going to happen if I say something to someone to wear a mask, are they going to try to punch me.  LB: Yeah, no kidding. ANL: My stress just goes --  LB: I know. ANL: Because I hate, I couldn&#039 ; t stand being there watching this young mother have her baby, neither of them masked, in the middle of the store, I wanted to shake her. And you just have to like put your hands under here and go no, can&#039 ; t do it, can&#039 ; t do it these days. It&#039 ; s horrifying, I find it, because I&#039 ; m a mom.  LB: I know. ANL: And the baby, if you don&#039 ; t want to wear it, fine. The baby.  LB: And even just the baby wearing the mask, it&#039 ; s other people.  ANL: Yeah, breathing on him.  LB: And if you have a -- when we are talking about opening schools and stuff, how can -- I have a friend who&#039 ; s a pediatrician and she had people ask her, moms ask her, is it okay for my kid to go to daycare and she said, &quot ; Well, let me ask you this. When your kid goes to daycare, do they ever get a cold from anybody else at daycare, or the flu, or any other thing?&quot ; They get everything at daycare.  ANL: Turbo germs. I call them turbo germs.  LB: Yeah, it&#039 ; s tough to put your life on hold but maybe you need to find something else to do for a year or two.  ANL: Florida opened daycare on July 8. What they did down there is the daycares closed in March, but they were still charging. So, my daughter said, I&#039 ; m not going to pay, she withdrew them. But a lot of parents had done that, they still held the slots. When school opened on July 8, the rule was that the children couldn&#039 ; t have backpacks and they had to be dropped at the door. The parents were not allowed into the school to see what precautions were being taken, to see how the children were being set up. My daughter was like, are they crazy. She&#039 ; s like I want to go in there and see what they&#039 ; re doing. But evidently throughout Florida the parents in daycare have no idea what&#039 ; s going on.  LB: I just don&#039 ; t see how they can possibly -- if you&#039 ; ve got one infected kid or a teacher that&#039 ; s infected, how they can keep that from happening to other people.  ANL: Holidays, how are they going to go on holidays? I have -- maybe it&#039 ; s because I&#039 ; m a person of color, I believe this is like his own private genocide. This is their way of getting rid of brown people, Black people, poor people, they don&#039 ; t care. It&#039 ; s like clear it out, we&#039 ; ll buy up the real estate. It sounds very harsh and I know it&#039 ; s like -- but that&#039 ; s how I feel. LB: I totally understand. I understand exactly what you mean. I&#039 ; ve interviewed a lot of people and this is my third COVID interview, but I interview ten people about HIV/AIDS during the epidemic, and these were older guys, mostly men, three women and seven men, who lived through the AIDS epidemic. And they were talking about it in relation to COVID too. And I have to tell you Anita, that although you see people acting stupid, people that we really know are not acting stupid. I mean, these guys are not acting stupid, you and Daniel aren&#039 ; t acting stupid, your kids aren&#039 ; t acting foolishly, so there is an unfortunate segment of the population who&#039 ; s a bunch of carriers.  ANL: And they don&#039 ; t believe it. And they don&#039 ; t believe it. I mean, if you go into your physician you&#039 ; re whole life, and they&#039 ; ve always been amazing to you, and they tell you you have COVID, and you turn around and tell them they&#039 ; re lying, what mind games does he play on people? It&#039 ; s so beyond my capability to understand how these people are so enraptured by that. He&#039 ; s Jim Jones.  LB: Yeah, it&#039 ; s really true. It&#039 ; s really frightening. Well, we&#039 ; re coming to the end of this. We&#039 ; ve been talking for an hour almost. And I just want to, let&#039 ; s see if I&#039 ; ve gotten all of these questions, I think we&#039 ; ve covered everything here. I&#039 ; m so excited about your garden, I can&#039 ; t wait to hear more about it. Do you have anything else you -- so think about this way, someday, someday in the future, somebody is going to look back on this way past perhaps our lives, because we don&#039 ; t have any information about what happened to people on a person to person circumstance with regard to the flu epidemic of 1918, which is comparable to this, where millions of people, millions, in the 50 million people died. And we didn&#039 ; t have any information about that and I think it&#039 ; s important for us to leave information behind to perhaps educate people about not making this kind of mistake in the future. Now, in the future, people may look at this and go, we have this vaccine, or they might go, yeah, half the population is gone now, or who knows. What do you want to tell those people, those people thirty, or forty, or fifty years from now who are people like your age or people your kids&#039 ; ages, what do you think? ANL: That we weren&#039 ; t crazy. We weren&#039 ; t speaking hyperbolically. We were truth tellers. And it&#039 ; s hard, I think, for people like us to understand people so full of hate and so full of anger. And it&#039 ; s beyond me. And I always thought America pulled together. America was always the country, I&#039 ; m sorry, that pulled together. (crying) And we&#039 ; re not.  LB: But you know what? I think this is the problem, the pulling together requires people being present and right now the people who care the most about other people can&#039 ; t be present. Because I can&#039 ; t come and hug you. I can&#039 ; t come and hug and we can&#039 ; t, this group of people who is going to protest for Black Lives Matter. And the Black Lives Matter stuff has been great. I have to say the people who are speaking out about that have been very significant. But those people have to be really careful. Justin can&#039 ; t go and he won&#039 ; t go to every one of those things because it puts other people at risk. And he is a caring person.  ANL: Yeah, it hurts. It hurts a lot. I do what I can but how much can we do? There&#039 ; s no -- I feel like we&#039 ; re screaming at the tops of our lungs and no one is listening. Yeah, and it does, it takes you to very dark places sometimes. And this isn&#039 ; t my America. There&#039 ; s a movie, it&#039 ; s an old one, I&#039 ; m an old movie fanatic, White Cliffs of Dover.  LB: What is it called? White Cliffs of Dover. Okay.  ANL: White Cliffs of Dover. And at the end American troops are marching through England, we saved the day, and it leaves you feeling so happy. And it&#039 ; s like that&#039 ; s not us anymore. And it made me cry, it made me really cry for something we lost.  LB: Yeah. But here&#039 ; s something I always say about WWII films, because that&#039 ; s a WWII film.  ANL: Yeah, it sure is. LB: WWII films, there&#039 ; s two kinds of films, there are the films that they made during the war when they didn&#039 ; t know whether they were going to win. Like Since You Went Away with Claudette CoLBert is a great example of that. So, it&#039 ; s a real movie to encourage people to do the right thing. And then there&#039 ; s movies that were made after the war when they knew we were going to win. And they&#039 ; re a different kind of movie. It&#039 ; s a different kind of patriotism. But both of those things were made to make people more strong in regard to their patriotism. And the problem is that creative people, I mean, right now it&#039 ; s harder for them to make a movie about -- you know, we&#039 ; ve only been dealing with this since March.  ANL: Yeah. LB: If you look at like the flu epidemic of 1918, which I talk about a lot, my grandmother died in that flu epidemic, but in 1918 mostly young people got it. Mostly young people who were -- not kids, but people from twenty to forty years old. And that flu epidemic was -- it lasted for fifteen months and then it disappeared because it mutated and just disappeared. But one out of every three people in the world had that flu. And we&#039 ; re only into what, six months of this, so far.  ANL: Yeah, we&#039 ; re still at the beginning.  LB: And people want it to be over so bad. People feel that way about war too. They&#039 ; re like, we want the war to end right away, and they want it that -- they expect WWII, they were expecting that in both WWII, WWI, Civil War, that it would end in three months or four months, and it doesn&#039 ; t. And I do think that we have a chance for hope. We&#039 ; ve got some amazing young people, we&#039 ; ve got every person, every real scientist in the world is working on this epidemic. That&#039 ; s one of the things that people who lived through the AIDS epidemic that I just interviewed compared to this. Because the AIDS epidemic, it was years before anybody did anything.  ANL: Yeah, that&#039 ; s so true. It&#039 ; s so true.  LB: Even though we have somebody in the White House that is not very smart, and that&#039 ; s a generous thing to say.  ANL: (laughs) That&#039 ; s very kind of you.  LB: People all over the country and the majority of people, quite frankly, I think, who are aware that this is very, very serious. And it&#039 ; s shocking to see. It&#039 ; s the people who are out doing stupid things are the people who are stupid. The smart people are in their houses. And that&#039 ; s one of the problems I think too. ANL: Yeah, well, I firmly believe Darwin should just do his thing right now. LB: Yeah, except for there&#039 ; s collateral damage.  ANL: Yeah, they talk to us too. That&#039 ; s the bad part. But anyway, hopefully soon we can go back to a new normal. LB: I hope so. Let&#039 ; s hope so. And I think we will actually. I hope that we&#039 ; ll learn from this, at least for a while.  ANL: I don&#039 ; t think we can go through this again in our lifetimes. I think this is my full. I could not go through this again. LB: I really agree, but you think about people in WWI and then they had to do WWII. So, they had to do that in their own lifetimes. And they were in countries that were being attacked. There&#039 ; s a kitty. ANL: That&#039 ; s my baby.  LB: There&#039 ; s another person in your house. That&#039 ; s a beautiful cat. What&#039 ; s your cat&#039 ; s name?  ANL: Aslan. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. LB: There you go.  ANL: He used to have a mane. LB: I am going to turn off the record button now. But thank you again so much for your involvement in this. It&#039 ; s been so great.  END OF AUDIO FILE Copyright for this oral history recording is held by the interview subject. video This oral history is made available with a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0). The public can access and share the interview for educational, research, and other noncommercial purposes as long as they identify the original source 0

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“Anita Niles-Lee, July 13, 2020,” Lehigh Valley LGBT Community Archive Oral History Repository, accessed May 28, 2024, https://trexlerworks.muhlenberg.edu/lgbt_oralhistory/items/show/38.