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Grateful for kind neighbors in the midst of COVID-19

Earlier this spring, Daniel Jackson began photographing and interviewing friends and Newton neighbors about their experiences. Here’s what some of them had to say.

Michael Carbin is among the people Daniel Jackson photographed for his At A Distance project, which he started during the COVID-19 pandemic.Daniel Jackson

Starting during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, photographer Daniel Jackson began At A Distance, a project that involved photographing and interviewing his friends and Newton neighbors. Here’s what some of them had to say.

There’s been so much shared suffering that people became more sensitive to it. So many people are struggling. Then when George Floyd was killed, it was easier for people to just say: No, this is unacceptable. Never have I imagined in my life that so many people could have been so moved. Even the people getting up and saying things aren’t the ones I would have expected. —Michael Carbin


While on the endangered list for many reasons, I feel blessed by good health and the strength to walk in the great outdoors. I appreciate video chats and phone calls, and the promise of warm weather, trees flowering and leafing, plants blossoming, and time to sew, read, garden, and cook. —Ronda Jacobson, with Josh JacobsonDaniel Jackson
When things started to [get worse] here, our friends in China sent us many packs of masks — so we were able to share some with the community. We haven’t personally experienced racism, partly thanks to our great neighborhood. But some of our fellow Chinese-Americans have stories involving vandalism and verbal attacks. We’re Americans now — we’re US citizens. We’re hoping it gets better once we get past all this craziness. —Sam Zhao and Julie Wang with their children, Vera and ReinaDaniel Jackson

Having my 101-year-old mom, Trudy, with us is the big plus of the situation. She says that if you are together with nice people, it’s OK! —Tom Schwarz, with his mother, Trudy, and wife Sarah Luria Daniel Jackson
Here is what I wish to remember: the time that all three girls were hugging each other and dancing in the hallway; not having to start the day at 6:30 a.m. We can finally start on projects that have been laying by the wayside, watch Netflix together, and experience the joy of having everyone tucked in their beds safe at home each night. —Rachel Dayanim (center), with Behzad Dayanim and children Maya, Avital, and KyraDaniel Jackson
With hesitation and awareness of our privilege, the past two months have been the most precious gift to our family. To spend every waking moment with each other and our children, to watch our 15-month-old son develop language and explore his world, to see our daughters, 19 months apart, play make-believe with each other for hours, is something I have yearned for. —Ziva Hassenfeld, with Jonah Hassenfeld and their children, Amal, Tehila, and MosheDaniel Jackson
I’ve been trying to compensate for the mandated physical distancing through increased social closeness. I now have an occasional drink at my new “local” — a chair in a neighbor’s backyard some 15 feet from the porch on which he sits. It would be nice if some of these [practices] continue after the crisis passes, in recognition of how much we mean to each other and what we’ve all been through. —Dan GruenDaniel Jackson