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San Diego Community Activist Tasha Williamson Shares Experience With COVID-19

 January 8, 2021 at 9:31 AM PST

Speaker 1: 00:00 A personal account of battling COVID from a former San Diego mayoral candidate, Speaker 2: 00:06 But this was a very life altering experience for me. Speaker 1: 00:10 I'm Maureen Kavanaugh. This is KPBS mid day edition. We'll hear from the former executive director of the California Republican party on the riot at the Capitol, he was pushing those people to go up there to the Capitol. He also turned on the vice president, which I was shocked about because vice president Pence has been one of his greatest supporters and some arts events are taking place this weekend to give us a breather from the news that's ahead on midday edition, Speaker 1: 01:00 While incredible events were unfolding in national news. This week, the COVID-19 pandemic surge continues. San Diego County reported the third highest number of new Corona virus cases in its update. Yesterday 3,850 new cases, a record number of hospitalizations and 47 deaths yesterday. The number of daily COVID deaths across the country hit a record of more than 4,000. Today, we bring you one San Diego Ann's experience battling the virus since the pandemic started former mayoral candidate and community activist. Tasha Williamson has been working with the unsheltered and communities hit hardest by this pandemic, but her COVID-19 work was put on hold after she contracted the illness and was hospitalized. Tasha Williamson spoke to midday edition, cohost, Jade Heineman, while still recovering at home. Here's that interview Speaker 3: 01:57 First? How are you doing today? Speaker 2: 02:00 Uh, mum, my back is hurting just a little bit. It's, it's hard. Um, you know, sometimes to still breathe, but I'm on oxygen. So it's, you know, I'm breathing, I'm breathing some, I'm thankful to be called a survivor. Speaker 3: 02:18 What were your initial symptoms like? Speaker 2: 02:22 Uh, initially it just felt like, uh, um, a head cold, you know, I was a lot of pressure, um, in my head and my, um, it felt like a sinus, like a really bad sinus infection and then it began, um, I began to have difficulty breathing. Um, and that's when I, uh, went to the emerge, the first emergency room and was tested, Speaker 3: 02:48 You know, hospitals across California are reporting, their ICU's are beyond capacity and that there are nursing staff shortages. What did you see when you were admitted into the hospital? Speaker 2: 03:00 When I was admitted, you know, there's days, I don't really, I couldn't move. Like I couldn't get up. I couldn't, all I could do was open my eyes and close my eyes. And, um, you know, that I think was the most difficult because you didn't know, you know, I didn't know if I was going to make it and you see the worried looks on the faces of the nurses, um, that come in and out, um, trying to get you up. So you don't have blood clots and, you know, try and get you to eat something. Um, even, you know, trying to, you know, my veins were collapsing and blowing. Um, so the IVs which provided the life-saving antiviral medicine was, you know, difficulty even, um, keeping me. And so I was stuck several times, had to have specialists come in and find veins. And so this was a very life altering experience. Speaker 2: 04:11 Um, for me, those nurses fought there, definitely overwhelmed. My last day was the day that, uh, Los Angeles was beginning to run out of, uh, beds and oxygen and, uh, going to a protocol. I also heard that, uh, there were freezer trucks, um, that were here in San Diego, um, for the dead bodies, um, that were going to, um, be overwhelming to the city and the County. Um, and that was very shocking for me that, um, you know, we've, we've in essence become, or are becoming New York city. Um, and we've had, you know, ample amount of time. It, it feels to prepare. The people do have to, you know, be safe. They have to stay in, they have to social distance. I don't believe six feet is enough. I think we need better mass. I just, I think people need to be safe because trying to, to Bri, um, and not being able to is, is a life altering experience. Speaker 4: 05:44 I know that you are still on oxygen. I can hear the tank humming behind you a bit. Did they have to put you on a ventilator when you were in the hospital? Speaker 2: 05:54 No, I didn't. I didn't have to go on a ventilator. The worked around the clock, even when they were releasing me. One of the nurses gave me an extra, uh, another, another dose of the antiviral before I was released. Just to make sure that I could fight at home Speaker 1: 06:15 As you are recovering and the cases continue to rise. Is there anything you'd like people to know, Speaker 2: 06:22 Just be safe, be safe, social distance. Um, if you don't have to go outside, don't go outside. I know isolation is hard. We, we have to find ways, um, during this pandemic to help, um, help with the, the impacts of, um, mental health on us. Um, being away from human beings that we love and care about and, and even, you know, being able to fight for justice because there are still injustices that are happening, um, in this city and this County. Um, no one is talking about what is going on in the jails and those inmates, um, that are, are, you know, not getting the support that they need during COVID-19. They are preparing freezer trucks for them as well. Speaker 1: 07:23 I've been speaking with Tasha Williamson activist and former mayoral candidate Tasha, thanks for joining us. And I hope that you get better soon. Thank you. The nation is coming to grips after supporters of president Donald Trump rated the U S Capitol Wednesday cap radio's politics reporter Nicole Nixon spoke with former executive director of the California Republican party. Cynthia Bryant about her reaction to the event and what it means for the future of the party. Speaker 5: 07:57 I think it was clearly an insurrection. It was truly the most unbelievable thing I've ever seen happen in the Capitol. You know, I started watching it early, so I turned the TV on and I watched the president's speech. And I was, I mean, honestly appalled at what he was saying, because I felt as though he was pushing those people to go up there to the Capitol. He also turned on the vice president, which I was shocked about because vice president Pence has been one of his greatest supporters. So I immediately was very concerned. And then, you know, the coverage switch to what was going on in the Capitol. And I just, the more I saw what happened is the more sad I felt for our Republic and for our democracy, those people that were going into that Capitol, they're not Republicans in my mind. How much responsibility do you think Trump bear is in all of this. Speaker 5: 08:50 He incited that crowd and urge them to go up there, I think was other elements involved in it that really got the violence going to the level that it, that it got to. I mean, this woman, that woman lost her life today and no Americans have ever stormed the capital like that. And it, I just think the president has to take, he needs to take a hundred percent of the responsibility. I really felt passionately that what happened was inexcusable and I've already spent the last, you know, the four years. I mean, it's been, if you're a Republican you're racist and I think I just hit my limit today. I just, I am ready for the inauguration. I'm ready to turn the tables and start going after Joe Biden on, on legitimate grounds for the policies is going to put into place. I've heard that sentiment, you know, a lot that people are hoping that things will kind of just go back to normal on, on January 21st. Speaker 5: 09:47 Do you really expect that to happen? Are you more nervous for what the rest of the year holds? I think it's too soon for me to really say the answer to that question because my hope and I'm always optimistic. My hope is, is that, that this ends the notion of a, that there's going to be a second United States. We're going to be divided. And I think that's my greatest fear is that those that have been so supportive of the president to the extreme are going to resist the idea of coming back together. Again, it's gotten so partisan. Um, it's, it makes it really difficult to work in politics. Like it, it wore me out. Honestly, I was going to ask also what you thought the future of the party holds. I think it's an, a very important question that, you know, those of us that have worked in Republican politics for a long time need to ask ourselves what is our future. If the Republican party was represented in that building today, by those people, that's a party I'd probably wouldn't want to be associated with. But quite honestly, I think as I listened to what these members of Congress are saying and what various people are saying in social media, I feel more optimistic that the party can recover from, uh, from the 2020 elections and recover from, uh, this divisiveness that we've had throughout the country. And that, but that assumes that also that the Democrats are willing to come to the table. Speaker 1: 11:15 That was Cynthia Bryant, who recently left the California Republican party as its executive director. Speaking with cap radios, Nicole Nixon. This is KPBS midday edition. I'm worrying Kavanaugh. This weekend seems a good time to take a much needed breather from news and enjoy a dose of culture. For instance, there are some enchanting films, musical performances available a 1980s work by an iconic local artist, a chance to dig into contemporary art and some live streamed jazz. Joining me is KPBS arts editor and producer Julia Dixon Evans. To tell us all about it. Hello Julia. Speaker 6: 12:02 Hi Maureen. Thanks for having me. Speaker 1: 12:04 No problem. Now, first up is an online performance from a new multimedia installation at good-faith gallery. Can you tell us about in here, out there? Speaker 6: 12:15 Yeah. So it's a collaboration between the visual artists, Johnny Alexander, and the musicians, salami Rose, Joe Lewis, which is a stage name for Lindsay Olson. Johnny Alexander installed a series of paintings in the gallery. It turned it into this surreal dreamscape space. Uh, each of his paintings is part architectural part natural, and you can view those online or request a private tour of the gallery. But a few weeks ago they had salami Rose. Joe Lewis come in to record a set inspired by the art. And that is now viewable online. As a video, her performance is pretty mesmerizing and makes the whole thing. This immersive work of art, even the shadow of the mic stand feels like it works with the shapes and Johnny Alexander's paintings. And her voice is so timeless. The electronic instrumentation has this really great vintage feel to it, to you, Speaker 3: 13:12 No hairs, a little taste of it. [inaudible] Speaker 1: 13:33 The musician's salary. Rose Joe Lewis performing an, a new video from good faith gallery for the, in here, out there installation with Johnny Alexander. It's viewable online on demand. Now, Julia, you're recommending a major artwork by Manny Farber on view. Can you tell us about the artist and this piece? Speaker 6: 13:54 Yeah, so it's at Quint one and the works called from the mid eighties by a Manny Farber, who is this iconic figure in the art scene here. He taught at UCLA since 1969 and lived in Leucadia until his death in 2008. It's a huge thing. When we say major artwork, we mean like 16 feet wide, and that's perfect for Quinn one's front room where they display one work at a time. And when you make an appointment to see it, you'll be the only one or you and your small group in the space that the gallery worker, they have masks and sanitation measures in place. And you can spend a full hour gazing at this single piece it's pretty complex, or you can check out more stuff in their back room. They have lots of contemporary pieces from local artists in the backspace too. So farmer's work though, is this part subversive, cultural time capsule and part personal visual diary. He has stuff about Tina Turner on there, and then things like I painted post-it note reminding him of his daughter's arrival flight from lax. And that's just on VI for a few more weeks. Okay. Speaker 1: 15:03 Okay. That's Manny, Farber's 1985 painting from the mid eighties. And it's on view now at Quint one gallery in the Hoya by appointment through January 28th, switching gears to classical music while we wait for the symphony to announce more of their monthly stream shows from Copley symphony hall, how can we get our performance fixed? Speaker 6: 15:26 Yeah, well, this week they just posted a short video episode. It's just a solo violinist and solo percussionist. And they're performing a set of miniatures by contemporary composer, Arabic Ariel Moss, and it's Turkish folk music. It's just a really sparse and enchanting performance. I have to say that I listened to this right when the insurrection was unfolding at the Capitol. So I had this up on half my screen and the muted news coverage on the other, and it was really surreal. So whatever your split screening your culture with this weekend, this will add a lovely witching soundtrack to that. Here is a clip of Speaker 3: 16:25 [inaudible] Speaker 1: 16:29 [inaudible] from the San Diego symphony performing miniatures set number six by airbag Ariel mass. The video is viewable on the Symphony's website or YouTube channel on demand. And if we're looking for something educational Lux, art Institute has a special art exploration discussion of work by their outgoing artist in residence, Carlos Martel, how can we tune in? Speaker 6: 16:54 Yeah, so Marty ow is a Cuban born performance artist. And in his residency at Lex, he's been working on in song, this exhibition, the shadow of the color line, featuring a documented performance called third person and his work explores immigration and identity and the black male body. My tale uses his own body in these really extraordinary ways in these works like as a way of emphasizing the lack of safety. And you can view some of these works on Lexus website, their social media as well. But I think this docent led lecture and small group discussions tomorrow will be a really great way to explore and experience Martel's work it's free, but you have to register in advance to get the link Speaker 1: 17:42 Lux art institutes, art exploration takes place online Saturday at 11:00 AM. And let's listen to a little jazz. How is the Anthony? I'm bringing their jazz at the Anthony and program to the virtual world? Speaker 6: 17:56 Yeah, they've had a few of these Monday night jazz performances in the last few months, and I'm looking forward to this one. It's not live stream from the Athenaeum, but instead from drummer, Peter or skins home studio, and he'll perform with frequent collaborators, Alan Pasqua and Derek OLS, I'll leave you with their 2010 live album recording of Bulgaria. That's Peter, Speaker 1: 18:33 Her skin, Alan Pasqua and Derek OLIS and their live stream, a jazz performance via the Athenaeum on Monday at 7:00 PM for more arts events or to sign up for the weekly KPBS arts newsletter, go to And I've been speaking with KPBS arts editor and producer Julia Dixon Evans. Julia, thank you so much. Speaker 6: 18:57 Thanks Marie. And have a good weekend.

Community activist and former mayoral candidate Tasha Williamson talks about her recovery experience and how doctors were able to treat her case of COVID-19. Plus, Cap Radio spoke with former executive director of the California Republican Party, Cynthia Bryant, about her reaction to the deadly protest at the Capitol. And this weekend in San Diego arts includes: new work by Jonny Alexander and musician Salami Rose Joe Louis, a mini video from the Symphony, Manny Farber at Quint ONE and the Athenaeum's livestreamed jazz.