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LatinoJustice Stands with You: Our Coronavirus Response

LatinoJustice Stands with You: Our Coronavirus Response

Juan Cartagena

As the Covid-19 public health crisis continues to alter the daily lives of people throughout the country and the world, we are all looking for ways in which we can continue to serve the communities most vulnerable to both health threats and restrictions that impact income, home, and family. We’re also aware of, and strongly condemn, the growing wave of xenophobic attacks against Asian and Pacific Islanders across the globe and right here on American soil. With that in mind, we’d like to reiterate our solidarity with our AAPI brothers and sisters, as well as with the at-risk communities we have traditionally served: immigrants, hourly workers and day laborers, incarcerated persons, and other marginalized populations. The stressors that compromised their well-being before the current crisis are exacerbated now, and our team, along with our peers, is finding ways to respond while continuing our ongoing social justice work.

While new mobility restrictions are hampering some on-the-ground efforts, our staff continues to forge ahead using digital tools to continue to meet the needs of our clients. While temporary court and government office closings means delays in our litigation and advocacy work, we are seeking opportunities to consider how else we can help those most vulnerable during these extraordinary times.  For example, we are actively advocating for the release of pre-trial detainees and the immediate halt of ICE enforcement actions.
 
Every day we learn more about the impact. An immediate concern is how primary elections will unfold when we are social distancing, i.e. how will local jurisdictions expand options, such as extending mail-in voting timelines. Indeed, among our first actions, we filed suit against the state of Florida over its decision not to extend vote-by-mail for Tuesday’s presidential primary elections amid the rising number of cases of novel coronavirus in the state. Our motion for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to extend the period for mail ballot requests and submission was denied, however, we remain vigilant to ensure that Floridians can fully participate in upcoming elections. See related press links.  
 
Our Census outreach efforts have shifted to double down on digital communications and social media to make sure Latinos are being accurately counted. This is more important now than ever, as critical relief efforts must be distributed equitably and that relies on understanding the true population at risk. We are determined to continue the momentum of our work, though how we carry it out and our timelines may have to be altered as we navigate this fast-developing public health crisis. Thankfully, as a result of our infrastructure strengthening in the past year and a half, all of our staff and operations were well equipped to move to a virtual operations model and our transition has been smooth.
 
We are evaluating how we will conduct our legal pipeline and education programs on a virtual platform for the next few months. As of now, our planned Law Day Fair remains on the schedule for October 18th, though we will continue to monitor developments and determine any necessary rescheduling. Similarly, we are evaluating how to conduct our special events.
 
Our spring events, including the Latina Trailblazers Breakfast, which was scheduled for June 16th and our spring networking reception are being rescheduled and we will announce new dates in April. Our Annual Awards Gala is still scheduled for November 10th in NYC. If all goes as hoped, we look forward to reuniting with many of you at the Gala and other events this fall.
 
The economic impact of this crisis will compromise some of the general operating support (GOS) revenue that organizations like ours typically count on to carry out our work. We’ll share more with you as this crisis unfolds and hope that, as you consider how you can help your fellow humans in need, you will consider supporting efforts to safeguard the well-being of marginalized Latino immigrants, laborers, and mixed-status families. Banding together, we can help our community get through this crisis.
 
Please expect further communications from LatinoJustice as we try to share with you the moving parts of our continued work. Thank you for your support and your solidarity as we move ahead.
 
In gratitude,
Juan

p.s. Click here for a growing List of Community Resources we have compiled on the Coronavirus pandemic. 
 

LatinoJustice Stands with You: Our Coronavirus Response