This commentary reflects on ways the coronavirus pandemic has offered opportunities to practice critical allyship in a time of uncertainty. The author reflects on how conversations with her mother, a public health manager, highlighted ways that responding to the needs of tent city residents during COVID-19 helped stitch together a community of allies to support increased access to health services. These conversations revealed ways that allyship is practiced on the ground during a pandemic, how compassionate care means care on the terms of the client, the importance of dignity, and the damage of stigma. Using quilting as a symbol of togetherness, the author reflects on ways that a quilt, metaphorically, can be a positive model of compassionate care showing us ways that COVID-19 has brought us together.
About the Author
Andrea Mellor is a cis-gendered woman of Chinese and British ancestry, currently residing on Treaty 7 Territory. Andrea is a PhD candidate in the Social Dimensions of Health Program at the University of Victoria, where she is exploring the protective qualities of coming of age teachings for urban Indigenous youth living in foster or away-from-home care. She supported CAAN’s Weaving our Wisdoms project as the research coordinator from 2018 and 2020. Andrea began her work with Indigenous community-based research while living in Lkwungen Territory (Southern Vancouver Island) and has since relocated back to the other side of the Rockies where she lives with her little dog Lucy. She balances the brain work with handwork, specifically, going through the slow process of “sheep to shawl” in spinning, knitting, and weaving. More recently, she has increased the scale of production by cutting up large pieces of fabric into small pieces and sewing them back together.