Daniel Hernandez owns and operates the Colonial Market and Restaurant in South Minneapolis, which serves a large Latino community, and has been interpreting official messages to Spanish on Facebook Live. Photo: courtesy of Daniel Hernandez.

While quarantine continues to keep many Americans at home, one Minnesota businessman is helping Latinos across the country remain informed about COVID-19. How? By translating official state updates in Spanish and broadcasting them on Facebook Live for listeners. This Latino is receiving positive feedback, motivating him to continue helping his community.

After listening to the Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey’s COVID-19 updates, Daniel Hernandez, a Mexican-born supermarket owner based in South Minneapolis, realized that this information was not presented in Spanish and many people would benefit from that service. He saw the need for COVID-19 information tailored to his community, started to interpret and broadcast the official state messages in Spanish, and posted them on Facebook Live.

Daniel Hernandez translating Minnesota’s Mar. 25 gubernatorial stay-at-home executive order in Spanish for Facebook Live listeners. Video: courtesy of Daniel Hernandez.

Daniel Hernandez translating Minnesota’s Mar. 25 gubernatorial stay-at-home executive order in Spanish for Facebook Live listeners. Video: courtesy of Daniel Hernandez.

He took this action simply because there’s “a lot of Latinos that don’t speak or understand English so I realized that my community was not served as they should [be], so I decided to do it myself,” he said.

He discovered that many Latinos outside of Minnesota are also tuning in for his updates. They tell him this helps keep them informed on some of the precautions they can take against COVID-19, like practicing social distancing and wearing personal protective equipment outdoors.

The feedback from Latinos in New York, Florida, and Chicago has been “overwhelmingly super nice! 99.9% of them are so thankful,” said Daniel. 

While he continues his interpreting work on behalf of Latinos, he’s also helping his local community by providing free food to children and organizing food drives for families in need.

Daniel rallied his South Minnesota community to donate food that was distributed to the needy on Apr. 13 -14. Photo: courtesy of Daniel Hernandez.

During quarantine, “Our store was the first one in the Latino community to give meals to the kids for the first two and a half weeks and now we’re doing a food drive for the community,” he said.

And while Daniel is focused on staying busy operating his business, he hopes to continue providing support to his community. “If there’s something big or if the community might need me, I will definitely go back and help them with whatever I can,” said Daniel.

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Herbert Norat (he/him/his) is a contributing writer for Pulso. A Bronx-born writer of Puerto Rican and Nicaraguan descent, he owns a small business, works as a library researcher, and writes for Bronx Narratives and The New York Public Library. Herbert lives with his fiance and daughter in the Bronx.