The following is a letter from UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguía on our ongoing efforts to inform about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Like all of us, UnidosUS has been monitoring the rapidly changing Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) and wrestling with its impact on our work on behalf of the Latino community. We are also committed to doing our part to support public health efforts while keeping our important work going at a critical time for our nation and our communities.
We wanted to provide you an update of the new measures, in line with CDC guidelines, we have instituted to protect the health and well-being of our staff and their families, our Affiliates and partners, and the communities we serve.
Below are some of the immediate steps we are taking:
- Out of an abundance of caution, we have cancelled or postponed several convenings and events including:
- 2020 UnidosUS Capital Awards Gala – Postponed to September 15, 2020.
- 2020 UnidosUS Changemakers Summit (March 23-25) – Cancelled. We will be holding some sessions via video/teleconference. Details will be shared with attendees.
- Politico Live “Closing the Gap: Latinos + Healthcare” (March 18) – Postponed. New date TBD.
- UnidosUS STEM Youth Summit – Cancelled.
- UnidosUS Affiliate Council Spring Meeting – Converted to Video Conference.
- UnidosUS Corporate Board of Advisors Spring Meeting – Cancelled. Some of the presentations will be offered via webinar.
- Effective immediately, UnidosUS is moving to a remote telework phase of operation for our organization through the end of March. We are operating via email and cell phone, and continuing work with Affiliates and partners via enhanced teleconferencing and video conferencing services. Additionally, all non-essential travel has been cancelled, and we have encouraged our staff to limit in-person presence at external meetings and gatherings to essential and mission-critical activity.
This pandemic is affecting everyone, but it has been particularly challenging for the most vulnerable in our community—children and seniors, the uninsured, families living paycheck to paycheck, and our undocumented community. A key factor in the models that have proven successful in our community has been the in-person support, navigation, and guidance provided by UnidosUS to our Affiliate leaders and from our Affiliates to the families and community they serve.
This week I will be meeting virtually with our Affiliate leaders in a listening session to learn more about how this crisis is impacting their organizations and how the Latino families they serve are being affected. As we learn more, we will share more about how we are providing support to our community-based Affiliate network.
Additionally, our Policy and Advocacy team is currently:
- Assessing the government’s response to date—both the Trump administration and Congress—with a special focus on our Affiliates and the unique health and human service needs of the Latino community.
- Gathering information from the federal, state, and local levels on the experience of Latinos handling the response.
- Reviewing steps that have worked previously for Latinos in disaster response and relief to identify best practices that we can share with decisionmakers and aid administrators.
- Preparing to engage in federal efforts to mitigate a national economic crisis—to lessen the impact of a potential economic recession on Latino workers and families.
The advocacy and programs we provide are urgently needed now and will most certainly need to adapt quickly in this new environment in order to protect and support communities most impacted from this crisis.
In the meantime, UnidosUS has set up a webpage in English and Spanish with the latest information regarding COVID-19. For the most up-to-date information please follow UnidosUS across all social media platforms via @WeAreUnidosUS. You can follow me via Twitter at @JMurguia_Unidos.
More than ever, we need to advocate for systemic change that safeguards our mission to build a stronger America by creating opportunities for Latinos. Support our mission in this critical time with your donation.
We will continue to stay in touch with more developments as we navigate through these uncertain times.
Please take care of yourselves and each other by practicing social distancing and social solidarity.
UnidosUS President and CEO