Angela Blanchard
3 min readMar 22, 2020


March 22, 2020

I slept badly and woke up with a sense of dread. A few moments during which I knew something was wrong but I didn’t know what. And then I remembered. #COVID-19

I am filled with dread because we have been told that it will get much worse before it gets better. Much much worse. Italian health workers and ordinary people around the world, with nothing more to gain or lose, are warning us, even begging us, to pay attention to what happened in their communities. To what they did and didn’t do. In this region we are — and we aren’t. And that’s exactly the kind of scattered inconsistency that guaranteed the worst trajectory elsewhere. Some is only slightly better than none. The people of Texas — and especially Houston/Harris County need a shelter in place order now. Late is still better than not. We see New York City. And we know what’s coming.

And then there is the daily dreadful White House lie-fest. Some of us who NEVER listen to him, who cannot stand the sound of his voice, the feral look of him, tune in because we need to hear what Dr. Anthony Fauci says. Trying to anticipate what’s next. Trying to sort the help from the hype. Wanting to prepare. Next we watch New York’s Governor Cuomo beg for action, laying out their realities. Their desperate urgency. Doctors come on the screen, looking worried and plead for supplies. Help us help you.They tear up as they are asked, “what do you do if you only have one ventilator and more than one patient who needs it? Which one gets it? They can’t answer without choking up. In our gut we know this is not the way it’s supposed to be.

The only reason we watch is because we are scrambling for tidbits that might tell us where to focus our determined efforts to help. Our willingness to work from our dining room tables to look after one another. In less than a week, hundreds of mutual aid networks have been birthed from home offices, dining tables and sofas. While the kids and the dogs played and the national news droned in the background, we figured out how to share meals and make masks. Made spreadsheets and organized new screens filled with like-minded people, pledging to be there for one another now, and also for those who will need us later. We said: it is so good to see you. I’m here for you.

When turning to those in power gave us little comfort, no clarity, no promise of solace, no hope of help, we turned to one another. And I was reminded: everything good grows from the ground up.

From our cluttered home desks, and on our messy coffee tables, pastors, managers, CEOs, parents, performers, writers, construction teams made hard decisions, gut wrenching decisions about jobs, services, resources and safety measures. We made plans to protect our children and our parents. We looked at our loved ones and said, “If I get sick…

Every responsible hard-working adult made a difficult call in the past week and awoke to a future of new and painful realities. To a present. Full of painful realities.

We are doing what we can with what we have where we are — right now. We are settling in for the long haul. But not going it alone. If all we have is community — I still believe it will be enough. It will have to be.

Hugs and love — from a distance.


Angela Blanchard

Out to Change the World. Born for Storms. Senior Fellow Watson Institute Brown University President Emerita BakerRipley @cajunangela