Vaccine Voices: Mequitta Ahuja

Mequitta Ahuja: This is Mequitta Ahuja. I am a painter of self-portraits, among other things. Racism in medicine is real. High-quality medical access is hoarded by wealthier, whiter zip codes. When black people do access the medical system, too often, we are met with paradoxes: overtreatment, undertreatment, mistreatment. For black people, our pain is questioned. Our lives are treated as less valuable. They say comorbidity as if we were already on our way out. I get it, and I also got vaccinated. The convincing logic for me is that the vaccines being human crafted are infinitely more predictable than the wild, unknowable, and changeable nature of the virus. The vaccines work methodically. The virus works haphazardly. One makes a targeted pop; the other explodes, and you don’t know where that shrapnel might lodge. Getting vaccinated is a form of self-care and care for our community. It’s a leap of faith to get vaccinated, but so is buying a car that you didn’t build or opening a can of soup that you didn’t prepare. We work as a collective. I do what I do best, and that’s a kind of trade for all of the other forms of labor I can’t perform. Whether we are starting over, rebuilding, or picking up where we left off, a strong foundation is necessary for ensuring against further disaster. Getting vaccinated forms that foundation. When we are fully vaccinated, we will move forward as a community with a new sense of purpose and our hard-won resilience.