I Am Not A Virus

It’s been over 7 months since the New Mexico governor declared a state of emergency and issued a public health advisory for New Mexicans to take measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Positive cases have swelled to 43,826 with 991 deaths, and the numbers continue to rise. To compound the issue, we’re dealing with job loss, mass evictions, and racial violence. The current president has continued to embolden hate groups and law enforcement to hurt and steal the lives of Black and Brown people, and he has used his platforms to scapegoat Asians for spreading the virus throughout the nation. His republican cronies in congress have gone as far as creating racist bills, such as the “Chinese Government COVID-19 Accountability Act,” “SECURE CAMPUS Act of 2020” and the “COVID-19 Accountability Act,” just to name a few. The president also called for his supporters to “go into the polls and watch very carefully” mobilizing armed vigilantes to intimidate voters.

As a local response to the impacts of COVID-19, AAANM was fortunate to connect with an award-winning Korean-American photographer Argus Paul Estabrook in April 2020. Estabrook wanted to create a space for our Asian community members to express their reflections and experiences in the form of participants’ “self-captured images and writings.” Those living outside of New Mexico were also invited to speak of their experiences as well. We invite you to enter the I Am Not A Virus exhibit and to reflect on these stories, the context from which they emerge, and how you can work to build strong communities and dismantle all forms of oppression.