As temperatures drop and people across the country brace for an acceleration of COVID-19 cases, some Latinos recognize that our communities will be impacted disproportionately. Meanwhile, there’s another political battle taking place as the Supreme Court pushes to hear a case about excluding undocumented immigrants from the 2020 Census count, which ended last week.
This week’s “5 Essential Updates” for our gente include migrant workers on lockdown, the mental health effects of the rising COVID-19 cases, and a new augmented reality mural that honors Latino victims of the coronavirus.
1. Crackdowns save lives — Latinos were the only ethnic group that saw a rise in coronavirus deaths, instead of a decline, last summer, according to the CDC. Experts say this is in large part due to our gente’s front-line jobs. In California, Los Angeles County has managed to curb Black and Latino COVID-19 deaths by implementing aggressive workplace health enforcements.
2. Migrant crews on lockdown — “I never expected to lose my freedom.” This is what one seasonal migrant tomato picker said about the new lockdown imposed on the workers of Lipman Family Farms in Virginia. To keep the coronavirus from spreading and jeopardizing the harvest, Lipman has ordered their seasonal workers remain either in the camps, where they are housed, or the fields, where they toil. Some workers have complained that their worksite has become “like a prison.”
3. A mental health wave imminent — Now that we’re approaching the second wave of COVID-19 fatalities, we are also approaching the second wave of mental health deaths. Since our mental health infrastructure was not well equipped to deal with this much mental health instability, experts say the system could collapse and bring disproportionate problems to vulnerable populations, especially Latinos, who are already under-served.
4. A new mural remembers victims — Throughout the pandemic artists have found their way to honor our gente who are suffering. Artist Christin Apodaca has a new augmented reality mural “Tu Dolor es Nuestro Dolor,” that pays tribute to more than 200 dead in Travis County, Texas. To see it you can download the app here.
5. Sisters team up — Nereida Robles and Fe Silva-Robles are the sisters modeling authentic community support. Based in Santa Cruz, they have a nonprofit, Senderos that has been providing free cultural arts programs and educational support to the Latino community since 2001. To continue their mission, they’ve adapted to the times, and now distribute checks, Zoom tips and other supplies to families who are struggling with food, housing, and employment security.