This ended up teasing a a story illustrated by Lola Noguer

Kimberly a young woman’s diary of isolation in SF’s Mission

When I wrote up my favorite pieces for 2020 in our annual “Staff favorites” feature that will be published later this week, I included Molly Oleson’s illustrations. In thinking about them, I decided to run a collection as an illustrated essay to demonstrate how beautifully Molly has caught the visual essence of each story. I’ve added links to the stories that inspired them, but the illustrations also stand on their own and help any reader imagine the narrative that will follow. –Lydia Chávez

Dialing for dollars: Undocumented immigrants struggle with swamped phone system to obtain California COVID-19 funds

By Molly Oleson.
By Molly Oleson, for a story that we have yet to write about Regina, a young woman who arrived here only four months before the pandemic began.

For Finding grace and gold in the midst of a pandemic

By Molly Oleson.
By Molly Oleson. The vegetables that Erica Rodriguez used to find grace and gold.

For Life in the time of COVID-19: Just when you think life couldn’t get worse, you get appendicitis

By Molly Oleson.

Susan Vela, blind and now unemployed, on living in COVID-19 times

By Molly Oleson .

The Latino Task Force emerges to take on COVID-19

By Molly Oleson.

Dr. Diane Havlir challenged the dogma on HIV, now she’s taking on Covid-19

Dr. Diane Havlir. By Molly Oleson .
By Molly Oleson. Testing at 24th Street.

Food Bank lines filled with stories of life and death

By Molly Oleson.

United in health: the quest to test Black residents for Covid-19

Dr. Kim Rhodes and volunteers. By Molly Oleson .

The diary of a Mission District couple’s struggle to stay afloat during a pandemic

Connie and Ricardo. By Molly Oleson.
By Molly Oleson.

Isolating with Covid traumatizes even the asymptomatic

Signs of Solidarity: Businesses and residents display messages that unite us

By Molly Oleson.
By Molly Oleson, also for Signs of Solidarity.

Love in the time of COVID-19: ‘Not having sex is definitely frustrating’

By Molly Oleson.

Casa Guadalupe: Checking out during the pandemic

By Molly Oleson.
The lines, by Molly Oleson. This just illustrated so much of what this year was about. Waiting. For food, for tests, for help.

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Molly is a multimedia journalist, editor, photographer and illustrator. She has contributed to dozens of publications, and most recently, served as Editor of the Pacific Sun. To view more of her work, visit

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  1. Molly these are wonderful, so powerful and full of emotion. You have captured a difficult time with dignity and grace.