By JR Valrey
During the Covid 19 pandemic, our lives, small businesses, and society have been altered in ways that we would have never predicted and never thought possible, 5 or 10 or 20 years ago. One of the major changes is that schools in California are allowing children 12 years old and up to make decisions about their health without parental knowledge or consent. Why? So people can be herded into worldwide vaccine experiments.
Today discrimination has even taken a new turn, it is not just about how much melanin is in your skin, people seem to care most if you got “jabbed” or not. Many have put their health, naively, in the hands of big pharma, mass media, and overreaching politicians, but there are still people who are rightfully suspicious of this worldwide campaign.
My longtime friend Rob Jackson is one such person. After having had a baby during the pandemic, Rob Jackson, the former non-profit executive director of “Beats, Rhymes, and Life”, had to figure out how to support his growing family, so he returned to his boyhood passion of woodworking.
Becoming a father and a small business owner for the first time during the Covid pandemic is a major feat, but helping both to survive and thrive, beyond the pandemic is the major test. Check out Rob Jackson of Rovy Designs as he discusses the life that he has today, in Pandemic Amerikkka.
JR Valrey: How did it feel to become a new father during the covid pandemic?
Rob Jackson: The thrill of becoming a father is something I have yearned for my whole adult life. Nothing can prepare you for the experience of immense love, and at the same time pure terror, when you see your child arriving for the first time. In the midst of a global pandemic, things become even more challenging because children are way more resilient when they are raised in a community. I can’t help but feel we are depriving her of that experience, and at the same time I don’t want to expose her to any potential viruses. We have been forced to become really creative, with how we involve friends and family in our lives.
JR Valrey: How did it feel to start a business that you are passionate about during covid?
Rob Jackson: That, besides becoming a dad of course, was for sure the highlight of this entire pandemic for me. I’ve always been passionate about woodworking and building things with my hands. I was fortunate, in that right before the pandemic started, I did a job at a friend’s house and had to purchase several tools for the job. When it was finished, I had the thought of being unsure about how I was going to see a “return on investment” on my tool investment. My partner asked me one day if I could make a ‘Yoni-steam stool,’ and after research and a few failed attempts, I built the first stool. I love the intellectual stimulation of learning new skills/approaches, the problem solving aspect when inevitably you fail or something is off, and the satisfaction of seeing the finished product. Add to that, I’ve been able to turn my passion into my side-hustle, and having another avenue to support my family is an added bonus.
JR Valrey: What made you start your business then? And did you find it easier to attract clients during the pandemic?
Rob Jackson: What made me start my business was a desire to put my skills to use. I’ve always been involved in carpentry, since I was a little boy handing my dad tools as he worked on our house. I feel like one of the most rewarding things I can do in my life is work with my hands, to create a beautiful product that happens to be helping several women with their vaginal health. It feels like it accentuates my purpose here on this earth, and allows me the ability to further expand my capabilities and capacity for what I can accomplish. I can’t say that the pandemic made it easier to attract clients, but I’m fortunate in that my partner is an acupuncturist, and is successful with her product page. From that we were able to create a waiting-list that in turn made the product more in demand.
JR Valrey: As a new father and new business owner, how do you feel about getting you and your baby vaccinated?
Rob Jackson: My personal choice with the vaccine, is informed by the fact that I have an auto-immune disease that has caused inflammation in my body. I have several friends that practice Eastern Medicine, and they have all reported that clients who had overcome inflammation in their bodies, had seen a dramatic recurrence of inflammation in their patients for a wide range of conditions including my own, in particular, around the injection site. I have a friend who had crippling migraines growing up, and fortunately had overcome his migraines, that is until he got the vaccine, and his migraines have returned and affected his ability to function from day to day.
I have also decided to hold off on getting my child vaccinated, primarily because my partner and I work from home, and we are able to trade off on child care, therefore reducing the need for her to get vaccinated, when her immunity is being naturally developed.
JR Valrey: How do you feel about the vaccinated-only environment of San Francisco?
Rob Jackson: I think that is deeply flawed because it doesn’t take into account that vaccinated people are still contracting covid, and spreading it, and some are still getting severely sick and needing to be hospitalized. It is flawed because it largely targets communities of color, who have every right to be skeptical about a vaccine, based on historical traumas. Finally, it does not take into account people like myself and my family, who are still taking all the precautions we were prior to the vaccine being available. Other than grocery shopping, I’m still isolating with my family, doing our part to slow the spread of covid. I wish there was more nuisance in the conversation, to include people like myself, who are making sacrifices and are not out in the public being negligent. I for one, am not eager to get ‘back to normal’ nor am I going to make a decision based on my inclusion (or lack thereof) in society.
JR Valrey: What are your thoughts on the Oakland Unified School District mandating that all children under 12 years old have to be vaccinated in public or private schools?
Rob Jackson: I can’t fathom that the vaccines will not have long term implications on our children; from their immune systems to their reproductive health, I worry that we are making economic decisions now that will have long term health implications in the future. At the end of the day let’s keep it 100, it comes down to money and if the schools are closed the state loses money. Taking away a parents right to choose, is what I feel is deeply problematic about mandates, and creates a dangerous dichotomy of personal liberties being infringed on, in the future.
JR Valrey: How do you plan to expand your business with the ever expanding vaccine mandates from different cities and states taking effect?
Rob Jackson: I’m fortunate in that my woodworking business functions through my woodshop, which is just me, and my partner’s online business as a means to sell the products. If this pandemic has taught me anything, it’s that self-sufficiency is paramount to our ability to navigate through crisis, and move forward dependent on self and my abilities and not external powers like the government.
JR Valrey: How do the mandates and pro vaccine media affect you psychologically?
Rob Jackson: They don’t because I do my best to tune it out. There is so much misinformation out, especially on the internet and people have become increasingly tribal in their beliefs around this issue. At the end of the day, everyone must do what they feel is right for themselves, and their families. I personally believe that if someone is not vaccinated, and they are out commencing with their social lives with no precaution, then I can see why people are frustrated when those individuals get sick. At the same time, I don’t feel like there is enough light shining on the fact that just because someone is vaccinated does not mean they are invincible!
JR Valrey: Is moving out of California an option? Why or why not?
Rob Jackson: Moving out of the USA is an option, and in fact is something that my family and I are planning. Oakland in particular is becoming more un-affordable by the day, and the city that I grew up in and that raised me, quite frankly has been gentrified to the point where I barely recognize it anymore. However, the dilemma is still to this day that there’s no place like Oakland, and especially not in the USA. As someone who has been blessed to travel all over the world, leaving this state/county allows for me to gain perspective on the depths of how impaired this place is. I’m conscious that this city, state and country has afforded me a blessed life, and at the same time, I’m fully aware that I want to raise my daughter in a place that is not indicative of wearing down a person’s soul just to survive.
JR Valrey: How could people connect with you online?
Rob Jackson: Make sure to follow me @RovyDesigns. Thank you