As the coronavirus pandemic continues hurting our communities, scientists are racing to learn as much as they can about COVID-19, and recent research has uncovered new information. One study suggests that the virus could cause male infertility, and another found that antibodies can start to fade away within weeks. This week’s “5 Essential Updates” for our gente include: Trump’s efforts to keep immigrants from voting, a movement to relieve student debt, and essential workers finally getting the protection they need.
1. They keep our cities running, but can’t vote — At the beginning of the year, the Pew Research Center estimated 23 million immigrants would be eligible to vote this year, but the pandemic created a backlog for thousands waiting to naturalize. Some, like senator Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, think this it’s an intentional effort to keep immigrants from voting in the elections this fall.
2. Poultry workers finally get protection — Immigrants in the meat industry have been hit especially hard by the coronavirus, which is why it’s good to finally see protections for these workers. Last week, Virginia became the first state to require businesses to adopt coronavirus safety policies after poultry workers led a grassroots movement to gain these protections.
3. Homework in parking lots — “The decision to return to the classroom is misguided, even sinister,” writes Carlos Ruiz Martinez. He’s a PhD student who joined the debate on schools opening in August. Lack of resources have already created a learning gap, especially since millions of students, especially Latinos, rely on public Wi-Fi to finish school work.
4. Movement for student loan relief ramps up — The economic fall out of the coronavirus pandemic has been disastrous, especially for Latinos. Sixty groups have called on Congress to cancel student debt, saying that in the fall, many will have to choose between paying their student debt and paying for food.
5. “Ayuda” errand service — With many relying on delivery services for food and equipment, this couple from Austin, Texas, created a public group for Latinos. “Ayuda” is in Spanish and allows members to request help and also offer their services during this pandemic. Hopefully more groups focused on helping vulnerable populations will emerge.