Cynthia Prisco finds their peace on the BX27 as it runs through Hunts Point and Soundview. For Prisco, the bus is the closest thing to a Starbucks. They can use the time to read articles, use Wi-Fi and charge her phone. Off the bus, they explore the Bronx, walking along Southern Boulevard, where they shop at area businesses. (Being non-binary, Cynthia prefers to be referred to with non-specified pronouns: they/them/theirs.)
These bus rides are a way for Prisco, 23, to escape the chaos and the claustrophobia it has caused since the pandemic started earlier this year. Along with the everyday stress of trying to stay healthy, there are little things that seem to come up every week. Since November 11th, the building they live in has been using a backup generator for power. Access to water comes and goes due to construction of a new development nearby. They were told it would be fixed after Christmas.
Every morning, Prisco goes to the bodega on Soundview Avenue for a bacon, egg, and cheese on a bagel, before spending the rest of the day working on their resume and job searches. Before the pandemic, Cynthia worked on more than 10 campaigns as a community organizer and canvasser, but lost that job in March.
Prisco has applied for a number of jobs, but still hasn’t found work. But rather than remaining idle, they continue to help others, and to pressure elected officials to fix problems, like restoring electricity in the building and adding mobile COVID testing sites in the South Bronx.
“I want to fight for people. I’ve been screaming at the lack of testing sites,” they said, adding that existing sites have not been strategically placed to serve enough residents, so they created an interactive map to raise awareness about the problem.