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Students use masks to express selves

On October 6, 2020

BY ALY REIFF / VN STAFF WRITER

Detroit Mercy students are required to wear masks when on campus as one of the protocols to keep students and faculty members safe from the virus.

But walking across campus these days, one notices that some masks speak a lot louder than others.

Nicole Johanson, who lives on campus, wears home-made masks rather than store-bought ones.

“In Illinois around May 1 or the end of April, there was a shortage of masks where you couldn’t buy them,” Johanson said. “So my mom and I decided to make them.”

They used the fabric they had and elastic bands to make the masks, sewing them with a machine to speed up the process.

“I started off with making two masks for myself when I was at home,” she said. “Then I made some for my grandparents, and after that I decided to make a bunch to donate through my church. Before returning to campus I made eight for myself and for my sister so we were prepared.”

At this point for most students, including Johanson, wearing a mask on campus is second nature.

Junior Jiera Shears is another student who has a unique mask.

“My mask is used to help bring awareness to social injustice,” Shears said. “It’s used to help promote, educate and remind people that even though we are a minority and have been treated badly for years that our lives still matter.”

Shears said that she has worn her Black Lives Matter mask to protests and other public outings.

“In general wearing masks at first was really weird,” she said. “But now I feel uncomfortable whenever someone isn’t wearing their mask. I have gotten used to it, but I do think it is a necessary evil and can help save lives, as discussed in the recent presidential debate.”

Sophomore Abbie McDowell has a mask that was given to her by her grandma who made it herself.

“My grandma is very crafty and had masks she made sent to the front-liners,” she said. “But the mask she made me has an actual wire in it at the top to get the bend around the nose and it also has a spot for a filter as well so it’s easier to breath.”

McDowell typically wears that mask when she is out in public because of the fabric. Also, the look of it is nice and clean, she said.

Alicia Norman is new to campus this year. She has two masks that mean the most to her.

They represent the Lakers basketball team.

“These are my favorite because Lebron is my favorite basketball player along with Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson growing up,” Norman said.

She believes that if wearing a mask can help save lives, everyone should be on board doing it.

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