‘Our chance to create something new’: How local Latinos flexed for their most vulnerable

Two years into the coronavirus pandemic, ways to support Lane County Latinos, mostly created by Latinos, are in place to address health and wellness disparities highlighted by the virus’ onslaught. Community leaders are proud of what’s been accomplished, and as the emergency winds down, they’re hoping for lasting change.

When the virus first hit, many correctly forecasted that communities of color would be hit the hardest. Income disparity, inequitable access to health care, language barriers and the number of people working essential jobs unable to earn a paycheck from the safety of their homes rise to the top of the long list of reasons. In Lane County, some were especially concerned about how Latino families would be hit. According to the latest Census data, Hispanic and Latino residents make up 9.3% of the county. This figure is likely a significant undercount, a report from the U.S Census Bureau itself detailed in March.

In preparation for what was sure to be a tale of two pandemics, leaders in area schools, service organizations and public health quickly assembled teams to work directly with those most at risk of getting the virus and suffering the worst effects of the economic fallout.

person with mask and grey sweatshirt pulls cart with boxes; person with long hair, mask and orange sweater reviews outreach materials


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By Tatiana Parafiniuk-Talesnick, Register-Guard