Veronica Velasquez, 27, stands beneath a tree where she rollerblades at Perry Street Mini-park.
''It's taken a toll on my mental health and my mental well being. So that's why lately I've been trying to take care of myself, so I rollerblade as a self-care workout.''
Dr. Veronica Velasquez, 27, works as a physical therapist at Martin Luther King Community Hospital in South Los Angeles. She works with COVID-19 patients whose strength and endurance have been compromised. She lives with her parents, who are high risk, and fears she will bring the virus home. A lot of times her patients have difficulty getting out of bed or going to the bathroom. Veronica's parents are from the Philippines, but she was born in Saudi Arabia and then moved the United States when she was 11.
''What I do as physical therapist is make sure these patients have the strength and have the endurance to go back home. Because the longer they stay in the hospital the weaker they get and the sicker they can get.''
''Sometimes these patients are so weak that I'm literally carrying them out of bed.''
''It is frustrating when the cases of Covid are increasing and people aren't wearing masks, when some of us, and a lot of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and undocumented folks are taking really careful measures to take care of their families and the whole community.''
''The United States has a long history of immigrants coming here, especially the birth of this nation, so it's a little bit hypocritical to say immigrants don't belong.''
''While I don't think we have to prove our worth, I think the undocumented community has continually proven our worth. There are incredible essential workers that are fighting an entire global pandemic. How can you say we don't belong here, when we are working so hard to heal this countries community right now.''