On Thursday, Mijente Support Committee, a national political and movement organizing hub for Latinos, and the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, the leading national organization for Latino workers and their families held a virtual press conference to launch a new report titled, “The Impact of COVID-19 on Latinos in the U.S.”
This report shares critical demographic information on the Latino community, features firsthand accounts from frontline Latino workers, and forecasts the devastating toll of COVID-19 on the Latino community, based on the impact of the Great Recession.
“These are trying times for our nation. Workers and communities of color across the country are bearing the brunt of the social and economic crisis unleashed by the pandemic. It’s these communities of color, and Latino and immigrant workers that could face disproportionate impacts as a result of COVID-19. The goal of this report is to raise awareness regarding the lack of medical access, and economic support that this segment of the population faces, and will continue to face as a result of federal policies that have failed to include them.” —Yanira Merino, LCLAA National President
The report details the underlying factors that have resulted in Latinos dying at disproportionately higher rates from the virus while also experiencing the hardest economic hits. Latinos experience the poorest health conditions as the largest uninsured population in the U.S. Moreover, Latino workers are on the frontline of the crisis as “essential workers” concentrated in industries like care work and agriculture, where they lack access to lifesaving benefits like paid sick leave and protective gear. They are also facing massive layoffs as the key base of the restaurant and hospitality industries.
Yet there is consistent underreporting of Latinos’ challenges, and the federal government has been reluctant to document and publicize the health and economic impacts of COVID-19 on communities of color. The first step to demanding real solutions for our communities in the midst of this public health crisis is to understand the full impact.
“It will take at least a decade for our communities to recuperate from the effects of the pandemic if there are no fundamental and permanent changes made to the existing criminal justice, economic, immigration, and health care systems that led to the current disproportionate impacts of this COVID-19 crisis. Government responses must center the needs of those most impacted. We demand that the federal government include Latinos in all future relief efforts, and we will continue to advocate for our community to receive the life-saving benefits all workers and families deserve. No exclusions are ever justifiable, least of all during a global pandemic.” —Priscilla González, Mijente Support Committee Campaigns Director
In response to the report and the current crisis, Mijente will be releasing a list of federal demands to ensure any government response centers those most vulnerable in relief and stimulus efforts.
LCLAA will continue to emphasize the needs of Latino and immigrant workers amid the current crisis, and advocate in favor of federal, state, and local government policies capable of including Latino and immigrant families in economic and medical relief efforts.