COVID Chronicle

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TABLE OF CONTENTS Cover: A portrait of Michelle, analyst, with daughter, Isabelle, during Shelter in Place.

Page 4-5: Taped Off. Photos of deserted playgrounds in the suburbs.

Page 8-11: 6 Feet Apart. Portraits of individuals & families during Shelter in Place mandate.

Page 14-15: Boarded Up. Local downtown businesses boarded up their establishments due to the violent protests in response to the killing of George Floyd.

Page 16-21: COVID CLASS OF 2020. Portraits of graduates wearing their cap and gown in front of a backdrop serving as a stage and surrounded by their close friends and family members.

Page 24-26: My Voice Matters! Portraits of Asian and Pacific Islanders American Voters.

Page 27-31: In the Shadows. Portraits of minority-owned small business owners devastated by the pandemic and mandated closures.

“A time where we were restricted from going anywhere.” 2

“A time where almost everything was shut down.”

A sign made of plastic cups posted at Anna Kirchgater Elementary School in South Sacramento.




Photographed at times where families, children

come together and play, these popular playgrou

while a thin yellow tape served as a barrie

n, and residents in the community would normally

unds in the suburbs of Sacramento were left empty

er and a strong caution of an invisible threat.




Family, friends & classmates attended a drive-thru celebration of Jacob Cruz’s 13th birthday party.



Lyn, a medical nurse, she lives alone. “One adjustment is having to give extra emotional support to patients who are dealing with stressful surgeries, new diagnoses, and extended hospitalizations with no family or loved ones at their side.”

The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented event. Across the globe, we are facing the same threat and uncertainties and undergoing a collective experience that forced us to alter many aspects of how we live, work, learn, and interact with one another.


A PA RT Andri, photographer, and his family. ”I’ve covered armed conflicts, violent protests, and humanitarian disasters. Because I was Sheltering in Place with my mom and other family members I didn’t accept or pursue any assignment that carries a high risk of infecting my household.”

Using visuals and personal testimonies, this project aims to convey how individuals and families have coped to new sets of challenges and adapted to the new norms one month into the Shelter in Place during the COVID-19 pandemic in Sacramento, CA.


Jade, 7 months pregnant with her first child. “I was still planning on working until the last month of my pregnancy but due to COVID I lost about two months of work and I won’t be able to go back once this is all over because I will have a newborn.”

Patty with husband Mike, both educators, and their daughter, Maeve. “We’ve done puzzles. We’ve re-watched all the Harry Potters. I think I miss my students the most. I think my daughter misses her teachers and friends. This is her senior year. No prom, no graduation. The school is trying to compensate, but there’s just no substitute.”

Justin, musician & stay at home Dad, with Kat, a nurse, and their daughter, Liv. “The main challenge we face is not being able to visit our loved ones. We love opening our home to our friends and family to break bread and create moments. The main thing that’s been occupying our time has been unpacking and updating our home while we try to be great teachers for our daughter.”

Lei, manager, with husband Andrew, CalTrans, and two sons, Andreas and Leandro. “The obvious silver lining is the invaluable time I have with my family. No one knows what will happen next, so we have to cherish every moment. I hope we all carry the lessons learned from this pandemic as we move forward. I hope we all lean in to help families grieve lost loved ones or get by from lost wages/jobs.”

Simon pays his last respects to his Father, Heang Hun,who passed away suddenly from an illness. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sacramento Memorial Lawn limited the number of funeral attendants and required each person to wear a mask.





Graduation would normally be filled with excitement and bitter-sweet goodbyes and signaled a fresh start into the next phase of life. But with most of the social events and the graduation ceremony canceled, the graduating class of 2020 did not get to experience the final and memorable moments in the closing chapter and the recognition of an important milestone achieved.


C L A S S 2 0 2 0

Jadyn, graduated from Newark Memorial High School. To capture his journey of transition, Jadyn chose this skate park because it’s one of his favorite places where he felt free. He requested to be photographed as the sun is setting, and it’s fitting to mark when a chapter ends and a new one begins.



Izamarie Cruz recently graduated from Newark Memorial High School. She is a secondgeneration Filipina American, the first US-born child in her family to graduate from high school and attending college. She chose to be photographed at her Grandparents’ home because growing up she is a place where she is always surrounded with love.


Isabel graduated from Sacramento State with a Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy. Growing up with five other siblings, Isabel was the first one to go and graduate from college. To pay homage to her parents, Isabel requested to be photographed in Chico where she grew up. Her Dad owns El Super Grullense Taco truck, the longest-running one in Chico. Isabel started working in the taco truck when she was 11 and she had to set every-thing up in the mornings before going to school.


A portrait of Izamarie during her debut, moments before she enters a tent filled with her family members. In the Filipino tradition, a debut is a coming-of-age celebration that celebrates a young woman’s 18th birthday. Usually, this grand celebration is held in a ballroom and attended by many guests. But during the COVID pandemic, Iza’s parents held the party in her grandparent’s backyard and invited only close family members while many friends and other family members who could not attend recorded video greetings that were played during the party.



Crystal (31), Salesforce Consultant. Lu Mien American.

Justin (38), Stay-at-home parent. Filipino American.

Leang and Neara, 60s, Cambodian American.

“I would love to see more unity and less violence and hate in this country. We have become so divisive and hateful and it is terrifying to see.”

“I want to see more focus by our leaders, representatives, and fellow community members, as well as accountability when things work out right or when they go awry.”

“We fled our beloved Kingdom of Cambodia due to the civil war which caused mass genocide, separation of families, hard labor, famine, and had our human rights taken from us. Democracy is very much alive in America and we want to keep it this way.”


v oice

Kooney (36), Second-gen Lao American.

Kat (40), Nurse, Filipino American.

“Ezra (16 months) the third generation The minority vote is a smaller share but it is a path to empowerment. Our voices are definitely underrepresented, we must continue to vote and press the issues we feel are important.“

“With husband, Justin, and daughter, Liv (4) It is a privilege to vote, everyone should participate if they want to make a change. It is important to me to show that to my daughter.“

Megan (37), Project Manager/ Community Organizer, Biracial Filipina American. “We are misrepresented as our stories are rarely told from our lens, and are often auxiliary side notes or monthly cultural celebrations, rather than what they really are—rich experiences that deeply affected the fabric of this nation.”

m at ter s!


Stephanie, 31, Program Manager, Vietnamese American. “Everything is a political stance rather than a human stance. Everything is about “ME” instead of “WE”. Misinformation spreads like wildfire, conspiracy theories are entertained, while white supremacy isn’t outright denied.”

i n

th e

Small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy, employing nearly half of the private sector workforce, and they are accountable for 44% of all U.S. economic activity.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected minority-owned small businesses because they are likely to be concentrated in industries most immediately devastated by the pandemic like accommodation, food services, personal and laundry services, and retail. Moreover, minority-owned small businesses tend to face underlying issues that make it harder to run a profitable business including a limited line of credit, lack of banking relationships, and low cash reserves. According to the Census Current Population Survey, the number of active businesses owned by African-Americans has dropped by 41%, Latinx by 32%, Asians by 25%, and immigrants by 36%.

Sacramento is ranked 12th nationwide for the most businesses facing dire problems due to the pandemic and the second worst-hit metro in California. It estimated more than 33% or 1500 businesses in the Sacramento area have temporarily or permanently closed in recent months.

I photographed and interviewed two dozens minority-owned small businesses devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic and mandated lockdowns. Most of them are located in underserved neighborhoods of Sacramento including Oak Park, Stockton Blvd., South Sacramento, Broadway, Del Paso, and North Sacramento that have been long established and play an important role in their community.

The purpose of this project is to convey many challenges and hardships that minority-owned small businesses are facing during the pandemic, to provide a platform for minority-owned small businesses to voice their concerns, to highlight their contribution to the community, and to better understand how to provide support to minority-owned small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

sha d ows 27

Zion Tadesse, owner of Queen Sheba Ethiopian Restaurant. Broadway, Sacramento. “I realized what I love to do is working in a restaurant, helping people, and serving people. Here I am now still surviving COVID for nearly a year. How do I survive? How do I navigate? Especially when you are a black-owned restaurant, we didn’t know what to do. I am a part of a task force for the small Black Business Association to help people like me get access and information on how to apply for PPP and SBA loans and how to get financial literacy. We must unite together so we can rise up together. That’s my fight. So not only I’m fighting for just me, my restaurant, I’m fighting for other small businesses.”

Guadalupe Venegas, owner of Los Tres Potrillos Western Wear. Northgate Blvd., Sacramento Elk Grove, Sacramento. “I’ve been in business for 23 years. It’s really slow right now; no wed-dings, no quinceañera, and no soccer. Business went down 80%. I am behind on my rent and I know the landlord wants their money. When this pandemic started, I closed for five weeks. I was just staying home and I ran out of money. One Sunday, my wife asked me, “Hey, can I get some money to go buy groceries?” And I had to tell her I didn’t have it. And she asked me again, “What do you mean you don’t have it? I said, “You didn’t hear what I said, I don’t have it!” I kind of got angry but inside I was feeling bad. I was feeling so sad that I had to tell my wife that.”


Franceska Gamez, artist & co-owner of 1810 Gallery. 14th Street, Sacramento. “I am a muralist. I’m also a sculptor and installation artist. I also coown the 1810 Gallery. We do our best to uplift, underrepresented, marginalized, and emerging artists. When the lockdown hit I was terrified. Physically and mentally I wasn’t prepared. Between the work cancellations, the fear of my family and for the world, it was really hard for me to get into things creatively. I still am trying to be super positive and hopeful that this too shall pass. You can’t manifest it if you can’t even visualize it.”

Bryan “Abs” Washington, owner of All City Riders. K Street, Sacramento. “We designed our 900 square foot space to be hot and make people sweat. And now this business model is no longer compatible with life. As much as I hate that I had to close my business, I may have helped save some people from them-selves because I know that if I opened the doors they’re going to come. I felt it was incumbent upon us to make sure that we did the right thing. I believe that we are powered by the people, cities, and communities are powered by people, and all of these businesses are powered by people.”


Hang Huynh, co-owner of Florin Cleaners. Florin Road, South Sacramento. “Once COVID hit and everyone was staying home and a lot of people aren’t going out to nice places. Nobody was getting their suits hems, nobody was getting their dresses cleaned. The pandemic has put us in the negative that it has put a huge toll on us. Even though we’re slow on business, we still want to be an active part of the community. People are still dropping off clothes, not to be cleaned, clothes to be donated. We’ve collected over 500 pounds of clothes in three to four months, and we’ve been donating them to the shelters that are still open.”

David Owens, owner of Center Ring Boxing Club. Franklin Blvd., Sacramento. “We were Northern California’s number one team. We had champions, I was making champions. I just miss boxing, I miss the competition. I’m barely open. Before, we had like 50 to 40 Kids. For me to keep this going, I’ll do anything I can. However, I can create some revenue to keep this going, I’ll do it. I’ll try anything. If this closes down, all the kids that I have here have nowhere to go. So, I can’t close down.”


Weeja Payenda, owner of Sophie’s Boutique. Stockton Blvd., South Sacramento. “Our busiest time of the year was usually prom season, which is about January to May. Also June, July, and August which is wedding season. We took a huge hit with the schools being closed and shutting down party life. I’ve been charging rent on my credit cards, dipping into savings accounts, borrowing money from my sister, mother, and brother. It’s bad, but we got to pick up and get going, what can I do? I look at what I have. In hindsight, at least we have one another. There are people out there that don’t even have that and it made you be so thankful for what you have versus what you don’t have.”

Sam Ouch, Mora Som, and Asia Nonog, SEA Bowl South East Asian Restaurant. Elk Grove, Sacramento.“Cooking has always been a passion in my family passed down from my mother’s Cambodian recipes, passed down from generation to generation, as it brings good food, good times, and value to the unity to our family in both good and tough times. What inspired me to start our restaurants was the passing of my younger brother whose life was taken unexpectedly. We sold food in the community to raise funds to pay for his funeral expense. The pandemic crippled our business reducing our revenue by nearly 80 percent. We lost nearly 60 percent of our work-force which was extremely heartbreaking.”


Andri Tambunan Photographer & Videographer Sacramento, CA 916.715.2066 IG @andritambunan

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