Featured

Addiction Epidemic Inside the Pandemic: The story from Malden

By Will Sullivan Paul Hammersley, an Addiction Recovery Resource Specialist in Malden’s Health Department, says he sometimes feels as if he’s “working a pandemic during a pandemic.” As a result of economic and emotional stressors exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, more people are dying from drug overdoses nationwide. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that the country was on pace for more than 80,000 drug-overdose deaths in 2020, more than any other year. The majority of these deaths will have been caused by opioids, a class of drugs that includes prescription medications like oxycodone (Oxycontin) and hydrocodone (Vicodin), as well as fentanyl and heroin.  According to Hammersley, after only three people died from an overdose in Malden in 2019, that number jumped to 13 in 2020, with five of those deaths occurring in the second half of December. Nearly all overdoses in Malden are caused by opioids. Hammersley said the extended quarantine required to halt the spread of COVID-19 is the primary reason why there’s been an increase in substance use, relapses, and overdoses during the pandemic. […]

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Malden Neighbors Are Helping Neighbors to Get Through the Pandemic

By Martha Bezzat Since launching in the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, Malden Neighbors Helping Neighbors (MNHN) continues to make a profound impact on Malden households by connecting those in need with resources.  Formed by Malden resident Meera Krishnan — inspired by her own sister’s Newton Facebook group — her husband, AJ Kumar, and James Meickle, leader of a neighborhood mutual aid group, MNHN has blossomed from a tight knit group of “lead organizers” who interface with local and state agencies and officials to navigate larger issues. It now includes a network of “neighborhood point persons” who daily process requests through the organization’s website and Facebook page.  To date, the all-volunteer organization has helped more than 600 households with such tasks as food delivery, housing/financial assistance (through referrals to ABCD, Housing Families, CityLife, and others), and prescription pick-up. Volunteers have also managed yardwork, furniture moves, and assisting with baby equipment. Lead organizers and neighborhood point people, working from their computers, coordinate delivery volunteers (delivering weekly to now 80 households), check-in-callers, generous donors, […]

Arts

Seeking a sweet escape: Reading through the pandemic

By Sandra G. Ndengue All the media  — even TV comedy shows – were focusing on the pandemic. I needed a respite from fear and panic. So I opted for a sweet escape: reading, done at convenience via select outlets. Reading has always been a place for discovery, exploration, and travel. It’s like being in a time capsule, anywhere. My usual reads are nonfiction, autobiographies and memoirs — books that  help me understand and navigate someone else’s life experiences, living in their truth and finding a deeper connection. But during the pandemic, my reads were mostly fiction, focusing on African authors around  the globe and exploring culture in their respective world and how their origins and perspective affect society and how they developed as persons. With the lockdown, lots of people have found solace in reading.  “Before the pandemic more people borrowed non fiction and  memoirs but now people seem to fall back to fiction, fantasy and classics,” said Dora St. Martin, Executive Director of the Malden Public Library. Shaneuik, a 37-year-old nurse at a Boston Hospital, mom of two and former Malden […]

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Malden Reads mulls book selection for 2021

By Heather Barry Earlier this summer, as the Malden Reads steering committee began its book selection process for 2021, it faced a season and mood in the community and country very different from its previous ten years. On top of the COVID-19 pandemic, the country has been wracked with a coming to terms of 400 years of systemic racism, sparked by the murder of George Floyd, and brought to life by protestors from coast to coast.  These important and ongoing events informed the discussions of this year’s books. Once the book is selected, Malden Reads will invite the community of Malden to read the book and participate in a series of events related to the book’s themes. “At the end of the day, we want to point people toward a quality book with an important story that needs to be heard,” said Steering Committee member Martha Bezzat. “This particular year, we were open to themes about the ongoing crisis of racism, the trauma of the global pandemic, and resilience in communities.” She added, “The journey to […]

Arts

A Dragon Hugs the Corner: Wah Lum Academy Embraces Unity Amid a Pandemic

By Amanda DeRosa  Sifu Mai Du of the Wah Lum Academy in Malden often tells her students, “Under every roof there is a story.” So, when the COVID-19 pandemic forced her to close her martial arts studio on March 10, at the corner of Eastern Avenue and Ferry Street, and board up the windows, Mai Du knew she had to do something to continue to tell the story of Wah Lum. “A boarded-up corner didn’t sit well with me,” she says.    She and some of her artistically talented students hatched a plan to transform the more than 400 square feet of blank plywood into a radiant message of solidarity. Beginning on July 19, a group of artists and volunteers began painting a mural on the boarded-up windows. Today, a dragon snakes around the corner, embracing Guardian Foo Dogs, Lion dancers, and a community united. The work is ongoing.  Wah Lum Academy is not simply another school, Wah Lum is a communal space where members look forward to visiting on a regular basis; it’s an intimate place where […]

Education

From lock down to work out to city discovery tour

By Sandra G. Ndengue The effects of being home all day during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic began to weigh on me, with boredom and stress as my sole companions. My daily routine had become monotonous except the few times I escaped to the grocery store.  The idea of stepping out even to get food instilled anxiety in me. “ I need to get out of here,” I exclaimed. “I can’t stay in anymore!”  Craving fresh air, I slowly walked up to an empty MBTA parking lot near Oak Grove station. Five minutes of walking was all it took to feel free again. I felt relieved and relaxed, sensing the gentle breeze caress my body. Even the noises of birds chirping and trains departing and arriving the station gave me a sensation of normality as I sat there for 30 minutes.  I don’t normally exert myself or do any sports related activity – unless I have a partner or a coach. I don’t go to a gym. But during the pandemic, I have discovered something that many […]

Education

Confronting the anti-Asian backlash in the wake of the pandemic

By Martha Bezzat Anti-Asian racism has been on the rise since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, something that Dr. Jean Yu-wen Wu, a Tufts University professor and diversity leader, calls “a kind of terrorism.” “It’s about controlling us, telling us we’re not wanted, telling us we don’t belong,” said Dr. Wu during a virtual town hall meeting May 14 sponsored by the Greater Malden Asian American Community Coalition (GMAACC), an organization launched by Malden residents to dismantle historical bias and racism against Asians and Asian Americans. More than 250 people attended the meeting to hear three specialists and a college student speak about their experiences.    Dr. Wu called the current anti-Asian bias a “virulent strand” of racism in the United States. She said that while the pandemic didn’t create this racism, it revealed a racism “that’s been deeply embedded in U.S. history and U.S. nation-building.”  “It’s important to speak up about racist incidents to increase awareness because the history of Asians in the U.S. is not taught, and so newcomers in the community may not […]

Featured

Isolation and togetherness: The COVID-19 impact on family life

By Antonia Sheel and Amanda HurleyEdited by Stephanie Schorow and Anne D’Urso Rose Long-time Malden resident Karen Yates, a mother of two, makes it a point to wake up early and start the day with a cup of coffee, a little news, and quiet reflection. This helps her maintain a routine and sense of normalcy at a time when so many things are not normal. “Everything requires so much more energy,” she says. Her family has moved from the “auto-pilot” pace of everyday life to a new slower, ever-changing version. “It’s like moving through molasses.” The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting quarantines have had a profound impact on all of American society, not least of which is the American family. Children are out of school, parents working at home, or laid off from jobs, and extended families have either grouped together or stayed separate under social distancing guidelines. The citizen journalists of Neighborhood View reached out to several Malden families to chronicle their lives during the pandemic quarantine. While the families talked about uncertainty and […]

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Part Three: A defining moment for a generation

Generations are often defined by key moments in history. How will the global pandemic we are now experiencing shape this young generation? What will they – and the rest of us – remember in the decades to come? With the help of an energetic group of interns, Neighborhood View embarked on a project to interview young Malden residents about their life during the pandemic. These citizen journalists interviewed residents in their late teens, 20s and 30s, and collected stories that crystalize this moment in time, from the mundane to the momentous. Here is part three of an ongoing series. Read part one here and part two here. Matthew Mijares: Graduation by parade By Masio Dotson and Kamila Rodrigues For Matthew Mijares, May 31st was to be the day he walked across a stage and celebrated completing high school with his fellow classmates. Due to COVID-19, May 31st will look a bit different. Seniors will put on their caps and gowns, stand outside their homes, and wave to their teachers as a parade passes through the streets […]