Activist risks her life to continue helping others amid COVID-19
[Mar. 23, 2021: Christie Ileto]
Rosalind Pichardo measures success with action and deeds. Every January, she camps out in the elements to spotlight Philadelphia's gun violence as a way to keep her brother's memory alive.
He was murdered in 2012.
This year, Pichardo braved a nor'easter, but she's a woman on a mission that extends beyond activism for peace.
Kensington is home base for her nonprofit, Operation Save Our City, and of the opioid epidemic, which hasn't slowed during the pandemic.
She's armed with hand sanitizer, masks and Narcan, and has reversed almost 500 overdoses, recorded in a little black book she tucks in fanny packs.
When asked why she puts herself in these situations, Pichardo replied, "Because this is the need of my community. I know what my community needs and they need what we've been doing, and nobody else is going to do it. Nobody else has been doing it."
In the process, she contracted coronavirus more than once.
"When you're reversing an overdose, there's no barrier. I'm not fully protected," she said. "Some people have lived and some people have died, and I'm just one of those lucky ones that lived."
Pichardo was discharged from Temple University Hospital last fall.
The pandemic has made her work harder, but also inspired her to take on more roles.
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That includes teaming up with other organizations to distribute donated clothes, shoes, and PPE to those most vulnerable from Ruth and Clearfield - a place she calls the LOVE lot.
"I don't know if it's enough, but it's my best that I can do," she said. "I'm hoping that my efforts of doing my work has got other people to do work."