The coronavirus impacts all of us, but it does not impact everyone equally. Immigrant communities, and Latinx communities in particular, are facing a range of challenges from lost jobs and discrimination to health and legal challenges that are not shared by many others living in the U.S. In August 2020, National Public Radio’s Eric Westervelt and Maria Peñaloza reported on the way that long term inequities are being exposed by COVID-19.
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 to the whole story below:
Reflection Questions and Teaching Suggestions
When people think about immigration, we often think about physical borders. What other kinds of borders are there? What borders are being revealed by the Coronavirus?
How does this story connect-extend-challenge what you think and know about COVID-19?
If you wanted to learn more about the inequities exposed by the coronavirus, how would you plan your inquiry? What questions would you want to ask and where would you find your answers?
As you listen to the story, consider using the Project Zero thinking routine “By Whom, About Whom, and For Whom?”
After recognizing inequities it is easy to feel overwhelmed. The thinking routines linked here can help. Each, in their own way, can help plan a course of action to make a positive difference.