As we enter the fourth week of confinement, officials recommend we wear masks in public, global coronavirus cases have surpassed one million and millions more file for unemployment benefits. This week’s “5 Essential Updates” brings you important stories, and invites you to share your favorite song! 

1. Unemployment soars  — 10 million. That’s the number of workers who filed for unemployment in just the last two weeks of March, bringing the unemployment rate to around 13%. In many cases, workers have also lost their health insurance. Here are some answers to your unemployment questions.

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2. ‘Don’t let us die!’ ICE prisoners plead —  Women detained at a Louisiana immigrant detention facility are terrified of current conditions and imploring for their lives. Like the more than 35,000 immigrants currently in ICE custody, they have little access to masks, disinfectants or soaps, live in cramped spaces and feel powerless to shield themselves from contracting the virus. Despite pressure, ICE has resisted a policy to release detainees who don’t pose a threat to the public. 

3. Supporting our gente — The Hispanic Heritage Foundation is partnering with Justice for Migrant Women, and the National Center for Farmworker Health, and launching a campaign in support of, and to protect the estimated 2-3 million farmworkers toiling in agricultural jobs across the nation by making  #Masks4Farmworkers.

4. Relief fund for undocumented families — Immigration advocates and organizations are here for our gente. And, over the weekend, Mayor Jacob Frey (above) from Minneapolis created a $5 million forgivable loan program to help renters and small businesses, regardless of their immigration or documentation status. We hope other cities are taking notice 👏🏽

5. Make your own masks and add songs!  — The CDC officially recommended we wear masks in public, and plenty of sites show us how to make them. But did you know some fabrics work better than others? Aim for heavy material, and double up on layers. Need a mask-making playlist? Here’s ours! We’re open to your additions 🎧

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