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Radio: ‘Our Communities Are In Crisis’: Latinos And COVID-19

August 26, 2020

NPR story on All Things Considered by Eric Westervelt and Marisa Peñaloza

“Poverty, inequities, the jobs that they perform … create the perfect environment for the virus to spread quickly,” says Omar Carrera CEO of the nonprofit Canal Alliance.

Marin County, just north of San Francisco, is best known nationally as a picturesque gateway to wine country and home to moneyed tech investors and a handful of aging rock stars. The reality, of course, is more complicated.

Those complexities can be found in a San Rafael neighborhood known as the Canal. Its large Latino population has been hit hard by COVID-19. Many residents are immigrants. The Canal’s struggles reflect systemic failures and are playing out nationally as Latinx and other communities of color continue to bear the brunt of the deadly virus.

In Marin County, one of the nation’s wealthiest, these line workers who stock the shelves, scrub the hardwood floors, wash the Teslas and care for the gardens and children in Tiburon, Mill Valley and San Rafael are bearing the brunt of the coronavirus.

“You know, high-risk, high-poverty essential workers facing multiple challenges that other groups are not,” says Omar Carrera who runs the Canal Alliance, a San Rafael non-profit that has supported Latinx immigrant communities here for nearly 30 years.

Like other African American and Latino populations around the country, this community has been disproportionately hard-hit by the coronavirus. Latinos make up about 16 percent of Marin’s population, but account for nearly 80% of COVID-19 cases in the county, according to health officials here.

Listen or read the full story on the NPR website.

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