As we navigate through the increasingly heartbreaking impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, my thoughts are with the many families who have suffered the loss of loved ones, those facing their own health woes, and those facing the constant strain and worry of a sudden loss of income. There is no way to mitigate the pain so many are feeling.
This public health crisis has profoundly altered the way that our society views the systems that touch our daily lives. Where many once cavalierly accepted the inevitability of economic, health and social inequities, more Americans are awakening to the reality that a society effectively grounded in inequality is a society at exceptional risk for failure. This public health crisis has exposed the intrinsic cracks in a society that fails to acknowledge the humanity of all of its members. At LatinoJustice, we take this opportunity to renew our foundational commitment to acknowledge and defend the human and civil rights of Latinxs nationwide.
As COVID-19 has disrupted the American economy, the hardest hit industries have been those that rely heavily on Latinx workers, including restaurants, supermarkets, home healthcare, childcare and farming, as well as small business owners. A Pew Research survey in March revealed that 49% of Latinx households nationwide, compared to 33% of all households, have lost income either through pay cuts or job loss. Many Latinx families can’t access existing economic relief programs since undocumented workers and mixed status households were excluded from the federal CAREs Act. The latest reports indicate that it may be months or years before the labor force recovers to pre-COVID numbers. The long-term economic impact of this crisis on our community is simply devastating.
LatinoJustice is responding to the developing needs of Latinxs in several ways, including:
- Providing legal advocacy for undocumented immigrant workers and their mixed status families who’ve lost employment, have had income slashed or who, having been deemed essential workers in supermarkets and other food service industries, are not being provided requisite safety materials or protocols in workplace
- Working with allies across the country to ensure that the health and wellness of all members of our communities, including those in prisons, jails and detentions centers, is prioritized; and calling for decarceration as an additional means to promote public health and prevent further deaths from COVID-19
- Defending Latinx access to the vote through litigation and advocacy that would expand mail-in ballots, provide safer options to cast ballots and extend voting deadlines
- Offering digital legal education, such as our upcoming digital LSAT workshop, to Latinx students preparing for law school
On a more personal level, we at LatinoJustice, just like many of you, have suffered unimaginable losses and worry every day about what lies ahead. But our commitment to the safety and well-being of our community, and to fostering a society that acknowledges the inherent worth and dignity of all humans, inspires and fortifies us to carry forward this work.
Thank you for collaborating with us as we do our part to help our community – and stay well.