As the first wave of U.S. coronavirus cases rises, lawmakers and advocates are calling for a stronger response to keep our Latino communities safe. “We are really the community that is keeping America going,” says Sindy Benavides, CEO of League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). This week’s “5 Essential Updates” for our gente include: how Latinos feel about sending our children to school, updates on the businesses that make our piñatas, and a powerful task force taking the response into their own hands.
1. What homeschooling could mean for Latinos — Latinos are stuck between two horrible options in the nation-wide debate on going back to school this fall. According to a new study, over half of Latinos reported not having enough computers, laptops, or tablets to support their family’s needs for their child to not fall behind.
2. Latino party rentals suffer — If you’ve ever celebrated a Latino wedding, quinceañera, or birthday party, you may have supported a Latino party business. Like many, these small shops have lost business. One boutique owner, Noelia Mendez, says summer is usually the best time for her, but so far business has been slow.
3. Meat industry wrecks Latino workers — Meat processing factories have been known as coronavirus hotspots across the Midwest, and Latinos are the workers that keep these meat factories running. Of the 10,000 COVID-19 cases within these factories, over half are of Latinos, according to the CDC.
4. Taking back power — Across the country, Latino neighborhoods are being neglected, but a Latino Task Force in California is counteracting this dismal pattern. Located in “The Mission” neighborhood in San Francisco, this task force has brought together seasoned community organizers to develop food systems, set up testing sites, and provide face-to-face assistance to navigate social services.
5. Latinos first vaccine — There’s a race to get a vaccine on the market, and federal health officials are debating how to distribute it when it comes out. The CDC and an advisory committee are considering putting Latinos and Black people ahead of others to receive the vaccine. While some medical experts say there is no scientific basis for this option, others recognize that our communities have been hit hardest in this pandemic.