NEW ORLEANS - Councilmember Helena Moreno, in partnership with the Cantrell Administration and the Hispanic Outreach Task Force, will recognize Hispanic Heritage and Health Month 2020 from September 15 to October 15. Typically known as Hispanic Heritage Month, the observance will look a bit different this year and highlight key health resources, first-person accounts, and essential resources to address the disparate impact COVID-19 has had on the Hispanic community.
According to CDC reports, the Hispanic community nationwide is 4.6x more likely to require hospitalization and 2.8x more likely to contract COVID-19 than their white counterparts. In reality, these numbers may be much higher and likely underrepresent the true threat faced by this population as rates within certain small Hispanic communities can be significantly more catastrophic.
"Long-standing systemic health and social inequities have put many people from racial and ethnic minority groups at increased risk of getting sick and dying from COVID-19," said Council Vice President Helena Moreno. "The Hispanic community faces many challenges, including access to health care, disproportionate representation in frontline and essential work settings, jobs that do not provide sick or paid leave, and multi-generational housing. The impacts of COVID-19 do not stop at infection; lost wages due to illness, increased stress, and strain on social connectedness are further harming this population."
"We are a proud partner with Councilmember Moreno and the Hispanic Outreach Task Force in recognizing Hispanic Heritage and Health Month 2020. We know both the vital role the Latino and Hispanic communities play in our community as well as the health disparities in this community during the COVID-19 pandemic. My administration is committed to ensuring that our physical and economic recovery lifts up all New Orleanians, including our most vulnerable, and especially those who have been working on the frontlines," said Mayor LaToya Cantrell.
The campaign will underscore appropriate COVID-19 safety guidelines, emphasize the importance of getting annual flu shots, highlight Hispanic businesses incorporating COVID-19 practices, show residents where and how resources can be accessed, and feature advocates who are helping the Hispanic community through the pandemic.
"The disproportionate impact of COVID-19 to the vulnerable Hispanic community is a loud reminder of the long-term inequities that have hindered economic development and the important work needed to bridge this gap. We must adopt measures and create strategies to address these disparities and build a thriving community for all. Our organization is proud to lead this effort as we educate, advocate, and connect to widen the path of opportunity that builds wealth and a healthy workforce pipeline," said Mayra E. Pineda, President & CEO Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana.
"During this month, we usually celebrate the independence and heritage of many countries in Latin America. But as an organization, and as a person who is Afro-Indigenous, we are calling for people to instead pause and reflect on the systemic failures abroad and here in the US. To reflect on the lack of care and structural violence that is directed toward our community members from Latin America who are Indigenous and Afro-descendants. The health in our community has not just been affected by COVID but by the medical neglect and illegal medical procedures in detention centers, and the deep fear that is experienced every day as loved ones are taken from their homes," said Mary Moran, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Our Voice Nuestra Voz.
Councilmember Moreno concluded, saying, "This Hispanic Heritage Month, I thought it was critical to include 'Health' as a key component of our messaging. I am hopeful that through shared faith, family, and cultural bonds, we can empower and encourage individuals and communities to protect themselves, care for those who become sick, keep our kids healthy, and better cope with anxieties stemming from this illness."
The public is encouraged to follow along with Councilmember Moreno on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, the New Orleans City Council on Facebook and Twitter, as well as the Mayor's Office for additional updates and information over the next several weeks.
Chief of Staff
Office of Councilmember-at-Large Helena Moreno