Across the world, governments are easing lockdown restrictions, as Latinos in the U.S. continue to risk their lives on the frontlines. The U.S. has the highest rate of coronavirus infections internationally 🤦🏽♀️ yet, several states are opening businesses and public spaces, even as the Trump administration predicts doubling the daily death toll by next month. This week’s “5 Essential Updates” includes meat factories, the pandemic’s impact on Latino businesses and families, and tips to help with mental health.
1. Pandemic breeding grounds — The largest U.S. coronavirus outbreaks have occured at meat processing plants, where over 5,000 meat processing employees have tested positive for the virus, as of May 4. Trump has urged these plants to remain open, which will continue to put workers at risk (and an estimated 80% are undocumented immigrants). Many believe Trump’s decision is “putting profit over lives.”
2. Blind eye to Latino businesses — Luciana Gómez, who owns Café Victoria in Dallas, is one of countless Latino entrepreneurs suffering economically. Wanting to protect her employees, she filed for the Paycheck Protection Program, but it ran out of money before she received support. A survey of 500 Latino small-business owners showed that under 20% received relief, while restaurant and hotel chains claimed millions.
3. Students left behind — The coronavirus is not the “equalizer” some claim, and will deepen the achievement gap for many students. The impact will hurt low-income families, many of them Latinos with young children, and 35% lacking internet at home. College students at home reflect the class disparities that are hidden on campus: While some can focus on online classes, others (like Tatiana Lathion, right) are working to help their families survive, or caring for younger siblings.
4. Managing your mental health — Emotional challenges today are undeniable, and even though some resist seeking help, the pandemic has exacerbated issues for many in our communities who are disproportionately impacted. Financial challenges add to the struggle. During #MentalHealthAwareness month, Massachusetts Health and Human Services suggests you:
- Adjust expectations for those around you,
- Dedicate time to your loved-ones daily,
- Practice mindfulness.
5. Loan forgiveness dreams — One of the pandemic’s silver linings is showing how progressive government programs can be equitable and effective. House Democrats are looking out for Latino, Black and working class people through a loan forgiveness bill that would cancel up to $30,000 of your student debt. This could help many Latinos to get their college degree 🎓