As the Coronavirus pandemic spreads rapidly through our communities, concerns have mounted regarding the information circulated by the CDC and WHO, worried that the life-saving guidelines and messages aren’t reaching non-English speakers and their neighborhoods. Few government leaders have brought to the light the responsibility to ensure that non-English speakers — especially Spanish, being the second most widely spoken language in the US —have the same access to resources and knowledge of necessary public health precautions as everyone else. As new data shows that Black and Latino patients are killed by the virus at twice the rate of whites, the need for translated material, bilingual informational hotline operators, and translators at hospitals and health care facilities has increased now more than ever.
One organization stepping in to help curb preventable deaths due to language barriers and/or misinformation is the League of United Latin American Citizens, or LULAC, partnering with Hornitos Tequila to launch #AyudaEnEspanol, a social media campaign tapping familiar faces like Eva Longoria and Danny Trejo to advocate and supply critical information to Spanish speakers nationwide.
Sharing links to online kits and government websites, popular Latinx influencers took to their Instagram accounts with handwritten messages like “Para Mi Familia”/“For My Family”, or “Para Nuestra Gente”/“For My People”, then tagging or “challenging” at least three additional people to join in order to help spread the word. Harvard Medical School also recently launched the COVID-19 Health Literacy Project, which provides fact sheets in over thirty different languages including Swahili and Navajo; their primary goal is to “create and translate accessible COVID-19 information into multiple languages to help all patients know when, and how, to seek care.”
Families who do not speak English can stay connected and up-to-date on the Coronavirus crisis, seek help, volunteer, donate, download advocacy sign-on letters and much more by visiting LULAC.ORG/COVID19.