Voices of the Students

Ashley Delgado

February 17, 2022

The viral Instagram post from an SJHHS student who intended to start a protest against school masking mandates has seen intense response both in support and against the movement.

One such response was from senior Ashley Delgado, who posted her own thoughts opposing the movement, highlighting the nuances of the issue for different demographics and the effects of how such a protest could impact other students.

“I felt like I should speak up, not just for myself, but for others who were also taken back,” said Delgado.

Delgado’s post has since received over a thousand likes and just as many comments all furthering discourse around masking. Her post has also been shared multiple times on various Instagram stories and other social media platforms.

Comments on the post have ranged anywhere from encouragement and support of her argument to hate and disagreement over Delgado’s message, or current masking mandates overall.

However, Delgado stands behind everything she posted and has not let any hate comments get to her or change her stance.

“On social media, I’ve had a lot of backlash but I honestly don’t really care,” says Delgado. “Backlash is backlash. If you are going to advocate for something you have to expect it. I just haven’t let it bother me.”

The topic of COVID and masking have a personal connection to Delgado, who has experienced family members endangered by the virus. This is one of the reasons she felt the need to speak up from a different perspective against the original anti-mask statement.

Much of the main debate around Delgado’s post surrounds her argument that COVID and the pandemic are disproportionately harder for low-income families and minorities. 

In her post, Delgado explains that “Half of our school is built off of low-income families, minorities. Their children cannot afford to get sick because of COVID-19 and its variants…”   

While many could relate to this statement with a first-hand account of the different experiences that different demographics must face, others argued that the issue at hand has nothing to do with income and race.

Delgado, a minority coming from a lower-income household, disagreed, feeling that the two issues are strongly linked.

“It’s hard for everyone, but mainly low-income families who are struggling, trying to keep up with COVID affecting work wages,” says Delgado. “I stated the whole minority part and the white privilege part just because it is relevant to how COVID affects people, and it was just taken in the wrong context.”

Looking forward, Delgado hopes that we can view these issues in a more empathetic and sensitive way, being aware of all sides to a situation, and the various ways it affects different people.

“It’s good for students to advocate for their rights, especially at our age, I just feel like it is in an extremely unproductive way as it’s interfering with the well-being and health of others.”

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