The Oregon COVID-19 Storytelling Project is a collection of stories from Oregonians related to their experiences of the pandemic, collected and stewarded by the Oregon Health Equity Alliance (OHEA) in late spring 2023.

Project Introduction

As health equity advocates, OHEA witnessed the crumbling of our public health systems under the pressure of the pandemic in overwhelmed hospital systems, misinformation about COVID-19, mistrust in our government and health officials, and inhumane decisions made from bad data. As the systems frantically tried to stay afloat, our communities were being let go from their jobs, unable to secure basic needs like food, housing, transportation, education, and medical care. All while enduring unprecedented environmental devastation and international uprisings demanding justice for the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, and others taken by police violence.

The goal of this project is to offer a platform for Oregonians most impacted by the pandemic to share about their experiences, stories, and impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This website is an archive of our experiences through life-changing times.

Our hope is that this project serves as a reminder of our interconnectedness, even and especially, when we are apart.

Thank You

To our storytellers, community partners, and OHEA team, thank you for the collective effort in making this project possible. Special thanks to OHSU RELATE Lab and GARD Communications for thought partnering and bringing the project to fruition.

Team and Partners

Ujuoñu Nwizu
Former Co-Director

Ujuoñu (Uju for short) is a Black femme living in NE Portland. They consider Nigeria, Mississippi, and New York as home and carry all the lessons these places have taught them about community wisdom, self-determination, collective care, and radical self-love. They come to OHEA with a background in health equity research, community engagement, training development and coordination, as well as sexual health education and navigation. Uju’s work is inspired by their personal and communities’ ongoing struggle with defining and protecting their holistic wellness in systems that do the opposite by design.

Illustrated portrait of Esther Kim.
Esther Kim

Esther has been organizing for justice and liberation since youth in Salt Lake City, UT. Rooted in racial justice, disability justice, queer and trans liberation movements, and wholehearted belief in the capacity to change, they’ve applied their organizing experience to health equity at OHEA. The Oregon COVID-19 Storytelling Project came from the need to lift up the stories and humanity of our communities as we continue to navigate the ongoing pandemic and the future health implications stemming from Long COVID.

Amarachi Duru

Amarachi Duru is a proud Igbo, Nigerian-American woman from Portland, Oregon. For years, she has devoted herself to nonprofit work that serves marginalized and under-resourced BIPOC communities through community outreach, program management, consultation and grant writing. Her dedication lies in uplifting, honoring, and empowering immigrant and refugee communities in Greater Portland.

In 2023, she published the “Family Love Fund” workbook alongside her project partner Brandt Maina. “Family Love Fund” is a collection of knowledge and wisdom on remittances from the African immigrant and refugee community- sending money and goods to support our family and friends in their home country. 

Amarachi believes that the ongoing work of health equity advocacy for marginalized communities in Oregon is ceaseless and crucial to not simply our survival but our flourishing. She is excited to be part of the OHEA COVID-19 Storytellers Project, which highlights and honors the often-unheard perspectives of COVID-19 by those disproportionately impacted. In her free time, she likes to spend time with her loved ones, stay active, and read Black contemporary literature. 


To connect and for inquiries –



Illustrated portrait of Sumiko Taylor-Hill.
Sumiko Taylor-Hill
Community Engagement and Membership Strategist

A Portland Native, Sumiko is dedicated to uplifting community for various non-profits throughout the state of Oregon. From advocating against housing insecurities in rural Oregon, to ensuring access to early childhood education and wrap-around services, and centering and uplifting racial justice and health equity through her community engagement experience. The work submitted on behalf of community members for the COVID-19 Storytelling Project has strengthened her commitment toward COVID-19 and Long COVID justice, as well as confronting COVID-19 deniability in various spaces throughout the state.

Illustrated portrait of Daysi Bedolla Sotelo.
Daysi Bedolla Sotelo
Advocacy and Policy Strategist

Daysi comes from Michoacan, Mexico, and grew up in Oregon. With a migration story also comes a responsibility to learn to advocate for our families at a young age. While some think advocacy must be at a large level, it sometimes starts with ensuring your parents understand the language. Learning English at the age of 11 has been the primary focus of advocacy until today. Everyone deserves to know, receive, and be able to understand their preferred language. This is why, when the COVID-19 story project was launched, it was hopeful to see that our stories are being told.

Logo for Portland creative agency Gard Communications.
Gard Communications

Gard is a full-service creative, digital and public relations agency in Portland, Oregon with deep connections to the people and issues in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Since 1979, we have stayed true to the craft of communication, earning the trust of our clients with stories and images that resonate with audiences and shape the conversation for the better.