We began 2020 celebrating New Year’s Day in Cuba for the fourth year in a row, affirming our new-found connection with the Cuban people and our deep roots there. (Neither of us can identify our ancestors who evidently came from Spain. Our heritage is truly Cuban to the core.)

And then came covid. (We don’t capitalize covid because we refuse to give it that much power.) We had planned to celebrate Geraldina’s 60th at the beach, continue our international travels, and visit folks in Miami, Atlanta, New Mexico, and California. But, covid changed all of those plans  – and more.

Regardless, in the midst of the most chaotic crazy year in our lives, our familia experienced two exceptional life-defining events that brought us deep joy. Our granddaughter was baptized, and our youngest son married. Both sacramental events took place in a covid way; and that will make them that much more memorable, we are sure. Mirabelle Elise baptism was a beautiful event, conducted by a family priest in the grounds of the Agrupación Católica Universitaria (ACU) in DC’s ‘Little Vatican’ (Catholic University) vicinity. Iggy and Jess wedding was to be a family and friends affair in Raleigh. Instead it was an intimate, moving moment outdoors in the gazebo of historic Carlyle House Garden in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia.

We did take a mini-hyper-local vacation to nearby beaches, mountains, and breweries. It was so cool to see how much there is to do so nearby. All within less than a couple of hours away. All outdoors. Gorgeous!

RemDana also stayed close to home, using Sligo Creek as the backdrop for a pictures series that is simply beautiful. Sligo Creek trails and Rock Creek trails have become our ‘go-to’ hiking trails.

We were truly blessed to continue our professional lives working out of the house, in Silver Spring – just named the US’s most generous city by GoFundMe. Geraldina in a room overlooking the backyard; Reemberto in a room overlooking the front yard. Interestingly, our professional paths crossed for the first time ever. Geraldina’s international work on HIV/AIDS was seriously disrupted by covid, and Reemberto’s local work was similarly turned totally upside down. We’d see each other in the morning and at lunch sometimes to compare notes. Then many afternoons we’d go for a walk. Indeed, Reemberto took on the challenge of walking most streets in Silver Spring. There’s a blog for that!

We redid our backyard to do small socially distanced gatherings – but we miss the pig roast big time. And we also redid our bar area into our ‘Cuba Room’.

And then came the elections. Ay ay ay. It is impossible for us to share our lives in 2020 without referencing the elections. For those friends and family reading this that may have voted for Trump, we understand you may see this reference as inappropriate in a Holiday Letter. But to us it goes to the essence of who we are as a couple, family, and individually. You see, this President chose to disparage and demean us personally. His attacks on Latinos, science, the elections, and public servants were deeply personal attacks on us. We are both public servants by choice. We could have gone to work for private companies, yet we both chose public service; Geraldina at the international level, Reemberto at the local level. We are both proud of our Latino heritage. Geraldina is a scientist. She volunteered – literally risking her life – as an election poll worker. Reemberto’s local work took him into the depth of the most vulnerable communities affected by covid and the horrible situation faced by local restaurants and retailers. And our President dissed us? Our President did nothing to avert the massive disruption caused by covid. We shall love our enemies. And we do. And justice shall be done. So we voted. And got others to vote. And he lost. And we celebrated. We look forward to the new Biden-Harris administration with anticipation and high expectations of good governance, diplomacy, collaboration, empathy and humanity.

As we look forward to a post covid world, we realize we still have months of collective hardships to endure. We pray for each and every one of the 280,000 plus – and counting – lives lost to covid. We are approaching a daily death count similar to what was lost in 9/11. Every. Day. We pray too for all those amazing people that continue toiling day-in and day-out, working tirelessly, and literally risking their lives. We pray in particular for the workers in the food supply chain, the sanitary workers, and everyone in the health field – nurses, doctors, technicians, and administrative workers. For them – and for us – we pray that this Navidad will bring the internal peace and unique joy that only love in service and solidarity with those in need brings. In the words of Cesar Chávez’s Prayer of the Farmworkers Struggle:

Show me the suffering of the most miserable;
So I will know my people’s plight.

Free me to pray for others;
For you are present in every person.

Help me take responsibility for my own life;
So that I can be free at last.

Grant me courage to serve others;
For in service there is true life.

Give me honesty and patience;
So that I can work with other workers.

Bring forth song and celebration;
So that the Spirit will be alive among us.

Let the Spirit flourish and grow;
So that we will never tire of the struggle.

Let us remember those who have died for justice;
For they have given us life.

Help us love even those who hate us;
So we can change the world.


Reemberto Rodriguez & Geraldina Dominguez

(You are always welcome to stop by our front porch at www.Reemberto.Info )

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