Yvette Modestin: “Racism within the Latino community is such a painful thing”

Not enough Hispanic-Latino, and not enough Black. Afro-Latinos are often made to feel like outsiders by the biases of communities who force them to choose one identity over the other.

In the past ten years, the number of people across the country who identify as Black and Hispanic-Latino has increased 11.6 percent, according to a CNN analysis of census data.

â€�It hasn’t been easier for me to say that I am Afro-Latino because Latinos themselves don’t accept the term Afro-Latino. Because we do not accept that we are Afro-descendants,â€� said Yvette Modestin, founder and director of Encuentro Diaspora Afro in an interview with NHPR.

Modestin was born in Colon, Panama. A writer and activist who focuses on the Afro-descendant experience in Latin America, Modestin came to Boston as a student.

“Afro-Latinos� is a term barely known in the Hispanic-Latino community because of its rejection of Blackness. Modestin said Hispanic-Latinos often forget this population is a part of the community.

In the 15th and 16th centuries, many people of African origin were brought to the Americas by the Spanish and Portuguese. Those who were directly from West Africa mostly arrived in Latin America as part of the Atlantic slave trade, as agricultural, domestic, and menial laborers and as mineworkers. The Caribbean and South America received 95 percent of the Africans arriving in the Americas with only 5 percent going to Northern America.

“Immigrant Latinos are walking in this country free and with rights [because] of the African American civil movement,� Modesin said. But the exclusion is not only from Hispanic-Latinos. Some African Americans also see Afro-Latino people as not belonging. Modestin says during the Black Lives Matter protests, Afro-Latinos felt displaced from the cause. Some didn’t embrace it because they didn’t recognize their own Black life.

The term Afro-Latino traces to the 1970s, when Black activists in Brazil sparked a social political movement to fight for recognition in the country’s census because Brazil — at the time — did not recognize its Black citizens in the census, said Solsiree Del Moral, a professor at Amherst College who studies Latin America and the Caribbean modern history told CNN.

Created in 2004, Encuentro Diaspora Afro provides a space for Afro-Latinos and all people of African descent to explore and embrace their complex and multiple socio-political identities across the U.S. and throughout the world.

Some of the young people Modestin works with are from families who tell them to not present themselves as Black so people don’t mistreat them.

Ultimately, defining what it means to be Afro-Latino is personal. “I have stood in front of Latinos, and they are the ones who question me the most,� Modestin said. “Racism within the Latino community is such a painful thing,�


Publisher’s Note: This story is an aggregate from NHPR and CNN.

Cover Photo Credit: AMPLIFY LATINXtggt c c

Hispanic children continue to have higher rates of lead poisoning

More than 1,000 Connecticut children under age 6 were reported poisoned by lead in 2020, according to a report released this month by the state Department of Public Health (DPH).

Of the children tested that year, 649 were new cases.

As has been the case for many years, nearly half of the 1,024 lead-poisoned children lived in the state’s cities. New Haven had the highest number of lead-poisoned children, with 171, followed by Bridgeport, 148; Waterbury, 81; Hartford, 71; and Meriden, 35. These five cities had 49% of all lead-poisoned children in Connecticut in 2020.

Following suit, health disparities also continued. Black and Hispanic-Latino children continued to have higher rates of lead poisoning than non-Hispanic white children. Non-Hispanic Black children were 2.6 times more likely to be poisoned than white children, according to a report on the 2020 lead poisoning numbers on the state’s Open Data website.

DPH Commissioner Manisha Juthani, M.D., said, “Protecting the youngest residents of our state from lead poisoning is a priority for DPH. And even though the numbers show that we are heading in the right direction, our work — including linking families to vital resources and building awareness in our inner cities — is far from done.�

But these latest numbers are based on a calculation that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the state have used since 2012. That calculation defines lead poisoning as 5 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood in a child’s body.

In October, the CDC lowered its definition of lead poisoning to 3.5 micrograms per deciliter.

If the state had used the CDC’s new measurement, or “reference value,� the number of Connecticut children considered lead poisoned would triple, to 3,000.

Even without the CDC’s adjustment, the pandemic complicates how to compare the numbers released to those from earlier years.

The DPH says in its report that “there was a sharp decline in screeningâ€� in April 2020, a month after the country started shutting down. A total of 61,700 children in Connecticut received lead blood tests in 2020, compared with 72,000 in 2019 and 73,000 in 2018.  In addition, less than 60% of the state’s children under 3 years old were tested twice, as required by state law.

Although lead poisoning is notoriously linked to the water crisis in Flint, Mich., in 2014, lead poisoning in the Northeast and in other older parts of the country is usually the result of deteriorating interior and exterior house paint.

For close to a century, before the federal government finally banned its use in 1978, lead was added to paint to increase its durability. Although walls may be painted over, chips from the degrading paint can be leaded. Of particular concern is leaded paint dust, created as paint breaks down and is left behind when doors and windows of older homes are opened and shut.

Babies and toddlers are particularly vulnerable to deteriorating paint because they are close to the ground and their breathing rates are higher than that of adults. And, as any parent knows, young children typically explore their new worlds, quite literally, through hand-to-mouth activities, turning a floor with leaded paint chips and leaded dust into dangerous terrain.

Exposure to the heavy metal, particularly during these early years when children’s brains are developing, can cause permanent cognitive damage, including an irreversible loss in IQ points. The toxin is also linked to speech and developmental delays, hearing loss and hyperactivity.

In addition to the 2020 numbers, DPH this week issued the numbers of lead-poisoned children in 2019 – 1,188; and 2018 — 1,333.

To view the 2018 and 2019 childhood lead reports go here.

To read the 2020 childhood lead poisoning report, please click here: DPH Report: More Than 1,000 Children Were Poisoned By Lead In 2020, and then scroll down.


Cover Photo: In October 2020, Charles Tate, a Bridgeport lead inspector, scanned the peeling side of a second-floor porch and found high levels of lead in the paint. (Melanie Stengel photo)

Publisher’s Note: CTLN and c-hit.org collaborate to best serve the Connecticut Hispanic, Latino communities.

Community Conversation: Lessons Learned from the COVID-19 Pandemic

It has been a very difficult two years for so many; nearly 8,000 Chicagoans and more than 33,000 Illinoisans have died from COVID-related causes.

The pandemic revealed inequities in healthcare, and other determinants of health among Hispanics-Latinos.

While government leaders celebrate dropping masking requirements and other mitigations, many of the most vulnerable say that for them, the emergency continues.

“I have had students tell me, ‘I’m not gonna get vaccinated now and I never will.’ … I’m really concerned that they could be hospitalized or end up dying,� Dr. Jesu Estrada told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Estrada is the mother of two Chicago Public Schools students, ages 6 and 12. She works at Harold Washington College and serves as chapter chair for Local 1600 of the Cook County College Teachers Union.

Estrada argued a majority of the unvaccinated are the Black and Brown students that she serves. “Our communities, our families deserve nothing less. Keep the masks. Keep the vaccines. Nothing short of that,� she said.

Join Illinois Latino News (ILLN) and WBEZ this Wednesday, March 30 for a virtual town hall to discuss the impact of the pandemic on Hispanics-Latinos on the city’s Northwest Side.

Hugo Balta, Owner/Publisher of ILLN will be the moderator of the discussion between community and health leaders. From broad issues of health equity to the latest guidance on masking and vaccines, this conversation will serve as a gathering place where you can ask questions and find the information you need.

Panelists for this event include:

  • Dr. Geraldine Luna, Medical Director, Chicago Department of Public Health
  • Dr. Anuj Shah, Integrative Family Physician, Heartland Health Centers
  • Dr. Archana Chatterjee, Dean of Chicago Medical School, Rosalind Franklin University
  • Sylvia Puente, President and CEO, Latino Policy Forum
  • Margarita Klein, Director of Member Organizing, Arise Chicago
  • Dr. Marina Del Rios, First person in Chicago to receive the vaccine

Click on this link to register: Community Conversation: Lessons Learned from the COVID-19 Pandemic

This virtual event will be available in both English and Spanish. You can let us know what issues matter most to you and your neighbors by completing our survey.


Cover Photo Credit: Dr. Marina Del Rios, the first person in Chicago to get the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, Dec. 15, 2020 (Photo: Ashlee Rezin)

This edition of the Community Conversation series is presented with abundant help from our partners: Belmont-Cragin United, Communities United, Esperanza Health Centers, Heartland Health Centers, Illinois Unidos and Northwest Center.

This is the first event in the new Community Conversation series, a partnership between WBEZ and Illinois Latino News that seeks to elevate Latino voices from around Chicagoland through journalism and public programming. In future editions, we’ll explore new topics in different communities as we strive to center the information needs of all Chicagoans.

The post Community Conversation: Lessons Learned from the COVID-19 Pandemic  appeared first on ILLN.

Remembering Lauro Cavazos, First Latino Cabinet Member

“I don’t like politics,� Dr. Cavazos told Texas Tech Today in 2015. “I went there really to try and improve education, and I think we did a pretty good job.

Lauro F. Cavazos Jr., a Texas ranch foreman’s son who rose to become the first Latino to serve in a presidential Cabinet as U.S. Secretary of Education during the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, died this month at his Concord, Massachusetts home.

Dr. Cavazos was a sixth-generation Mexican American, born on Jan. 4, 1927, the oldest of five children of Lauro Sr. and Tomasa (Quintanilla) Cavazos, whose ancestors settled in Texas long before it became a state in 1845. Lauro and his siblings were born on the King Ranch, the state’s largest spread, near Kingsville. It is now a National Historic Landmark.

On Aug. 9, 1988, President Ronald Reagan announced that he would nominate Dr. Cavazos to be Secretary of Education, a position he would hold until his resignation in 1990. On his first day as a Cabinet secretary, Dr. Cavazos conducted a news conference in both English and Spanish.

Dr. Cavazos aimed to improve dropout rates among minority students and to make bilingual education a federal priority. But he angered Hispanic leaders and onetime educational allies by saying in a 1990 speech in Texas, “If that child cannot speak English the first day of school, that child is not ready to learn.�

Dr. Cavazos was president of Texas Tech University from 1980-1988. As president of the university, he was the first alumnus and Hispanic-Latino to serve in the role. 

Dr. Cavazos was 95.


Cover Photo: Legacy.com

Publisher’s Note: This story is an aggregate from Associated Press, NY Times, The Hill, and The Washington Post.

MEXICO VS USA PREVIEW

The Azteca stadium will witness another edition of the Concacaf Clasico, Mexico vs USA today. It will be the twelfth time the two CONCACAF giants will clash at the historic stadium in a World Cup qualifier, with the US having a dismal record of 6 losses, 3 draws, and zero victories.

US RECENT DOMINANCE

Despite these numbers, the trend for the US is clearly positive. During their last two visits, they tied 0-0 in 2013 and 1-1 in 2017. There is also the Annus horribilis Mexico had this past 2021. They lost three times in a single year, the Nations League final in June, the Gold Cup final just two months later, and the World Cup qualifier in Ohio back in November.

The first two games were two contested matches with Mexico playing better football. The Nations League final was the novel tournament that had little at stake other than the pride of beating the archrival. The match was a back and forth game that went into extra-time after each team scored twice. Christian Pulisic was awarded a penalty kick, which he converted, just moments before the end of the first added half. Mexico got themselves their chance to tie the game, also with a penalty kick, but where the American captain succeeded, the Mexican captain – Andres Guardado – failed and thus, the first Concacaf Nations League trophy went to the US.

The Gold Cup final was tense and full of chances for both sides, ultimately Mexico played better but couldn’t reflect it on the scoreline. A lone goal by Miles Robinson in extra-time silenced Mexico’s fans at the new Allegiant stadium at Las Vegas and gave team USA their seventh Gold Cup, one behind Mexico.

Team USA wins the 2021 Gold Cup

If the final matches had been even, the match at Cincinnati for the World Cup was everything but. The US wasn’t overwhelming but never felt under distress. They controlled the game from A to Z and with two goals from their stars Pulisic and McKennie, they sealed yet another 2-0 at Ohio.

INJURIES BUG BOTH TEAMS

Both teams come to this match touched by injuries, however the US will play without perhaps the best player of these qualifiers, Juventus’ midfielder Weston McKennie, who broke his foot last February against Villareal in the Champions League. Another important player who will surely be missed is Sergiño Dest. Barcelona’s defender injured his hamstring last Thursday against Galatasaray in the Europa League. Chris Richards, Matt Turner and Brenden Aaronson are also to miss the match due to injury. 

The good news for the US is that Giovanni Reyna is back after battling with a hamstring injury he sustained during a World Cup qualifier game against El Salvador last September.

Mexico’s situation is not too different. They won’t be able to play with their captain Andres Guardado, who also sustained a hamstring injury playing against Atletico Madrid earlier in the month. Rodolfo Pizarro, Rogelio Funes Mori, ‘Cata’ Dominguez and goalie Jonathan Orozco are also missing the game because of injury. The silver lining for Mexico is that Orozco’s injury has opened the chance for Santos’ keeper and fan favourite Carlos Acevedo to be in the roster. 

YOUTH VS EXPERIENCE

Perhaps the most striking difference is in the age of the players that form these two teams. During their last match at Cincinnati, the US averaged 23.5 years whereas Mexico averaged a whopping 29. If we consider that France won the last world cup with 26 years on average – the youngest team to win since Brazil did it at Mexico averaging 25 – it seems that the future belongs to the Americans. But nothing is said for the immediate future and this Thursday, just like in any other deeply rooted rivalry, everything is set aside and winning is all that matters. May the best team win.


Publisher’s Note: New Hampshire Latino News and El Tri Online are partners in best serving Mexican soccer fans in the Granite State.

Marta V. Martinez on putting the spotlight on Latinos through art

The Rhode Island Latino Arts (RILA), a nonprofit organization in Central Falls promoting Hispanic-Latino artists; providing them with a space to showcase and perform their work, is the house that Executive Director Marta V. Martínez built.

“ I found that the main things you miss about your culture are the things that the general population considers art, but to us Latinos, it’s our culture, our way of life,� Martinez told Rhode Island Monthly in an interview.

She recalled what she missed about her hometown of El Paso, Texas when she moved to Rhode Island, first for higher education and later to call home.� I was surrounded by the arts; my mom and three of my four sisters are artists,� she said.

In 1988, Martínez obtained a small grant from the Rhode Island State Council for the Arts started the Hispanic Heritage Committee and RILA in 2013.

Tour of the Rhode Island Latino Arts gallery

Since then, RILA has sought to raise awareness of the art, culture, and history of Rhode Island’s Hispanic-Latino community through classes, workshops, events, festivals, and plays.

“It’s like a blank slate for ideas, and it’s exciting to see them develop,� she told WUN about the artists enjoying RILA’s space. “I love being in the room for those moments when things come out.�

Martinez shared how in her pursuit of connecting with others in the Hispanic-Latino community, she came to the realization that Rhode Island was made up of every single country in South America and the Caribbean. “And I wanted us to celebrate that together as a group, but also individually,� she said. �We’re similar, but we’re very different. Rhode Island Latino Arts celebrates the diverse cultures, we celebrate together as Latinos. But we also celebrate and teach that diversity of who we are,� she told YurView.

Much of Martínez’s work has centered around advocacy for and documenting the history of, the Hispanic-Latino community in Rhode Island. She was the first director of the Hispanic Social Services Association (HSSA) which, during her tenure, became the Center for Hispanic Policy and Advocacy CHisPA), one of two non-profit organizations in Rhode Island in the 1980s and 1990s.

Martínez also founded Nuestras Raíces, Rhode Island’s longest-running oral history project capturing and celebrating stories from Colombia to Cuba to the Dominican Republic.

An author, Martínez’s book, Latino History in Rhode Island, was published in 2014.

“What first started as a volunteer effort on my part, more of something that came out of my heart, from mi corazon, that I wanted to connect with the Latino community and have them connect with each other,� she said. “It symbolizes a home, finally, because the artists to me are the life force of the organization wouldn’t exist without them.�


Publisher’s Note: This story is an aggregate from Rhode Island Monthly, WUN, and YurView.

Rhode Island Latino News amplifies the work of others in providing Hispanic-Latinos greater visibility and voice.

Hartford public schools recruit bilingual teachers ‘Paso a Paso’

Hartford Public Schools (HPS) have over 17,000 students, and more than half are Hispanic-Latino; more than 1 in 5 are English language learners.

Struggling with the same staffing shortages faced by districts across the country, HPS is recruiting bilingual educators from Puerto Rico to fill teacher vacancies ahead of the 2022-2023 school year.

Through the Paso a Paso Puerto Rico Recruitment Program (step by step) — the district plans to recruit as many as 15 teachers from the island who would become full-time educators.

Adriana Beltran-Rodriguez is one of them, “I was interested in helping the students feel like they’re not completely alienated in the school.â€� The Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) educator told WBUR, “For them (students) to know that there’s someone that cares about them and wants them not only to succeed in English but to honor their culture and their language.â€�

Adriana Beltran-Rodriguez in her classroom in Hartford, Connecticut. (Joe Amon/Connecticut Public)

Beltran-Rodriguez is one of two TESOL teachers who make up a team of seven at Michael D. Fox Elementary School to support about 230 multilingual learners from Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, the U.S. Virgin Island and worldwide.

Research shows that academic outcomes for English language learners are better when students are first taught in their native language and English.

“So, this is a novel approach to help Puerto Rican bilingual teaching talent gain certification in Connecticut, and specifically bolster the Hartford Public Schools teaching force,� Superintendent Leslie Torres-Rodriguez said.

Paso a Paso will include two years of support services for teachers to relocate and adjust to Hartford’s community. Selected candidates receive a competitive salary, a $5,000 signing bonus and a moving stipend. 

Dr. Madeline Negrón, Chief of Academics, Teaching & Learning in the Hartford Public Schools also expects Paso a Paso will help diversify the teaching workforce. �Because a place like Hartford, we have to ensure that our students can see themselves reflected in the teachers that are in front of them,� Negrón said in an interview with NBC Connecticut.


Publisher’s Note: This story is an aggregate from WBUR, NBC Connecticut, and The Hartford Courant.

Anticonquista Cafe brings a unique coffee experience to the Logan Square and Hermosa community 

Anticonquista Café not only roasts their coffee here in Chicago, but harvests it from the high mountains of Guatemala.

In mid-March, the owners of Anticonquista Café — Elmer Farjado and his wife Lauren Reese opened a location at Hermosa and Logan Square. The shop is nicknamed La Montanita

“My family is very happy that we are going to have our own space,� Fajardo said ahead of the opening. “They know that I sell coffee at farmers markets and now that we have this place, they see how the business is doing very well.�

Not only are they selling their packaged coffee beans and beverages, but also extending the invitation to other vendors in the community.

“It’s one step closer to having a permanent place,” Reese said.

Elmer Fajardo, Co-Owner & Co-founder of Anticonquista Café

In fact, it is one of the many steps they have taken throughout their coffee business.

The path of Anticonquista Café began when they received their license in December 2019. Covid-19 put a delay in their first shipment, but in September 2020 they obtained their exporter’s license and then the coffee arrived in October.

They started selling the coffee at the Logan Square Farmers Market. In 2021, they also began selling coffee via bike, touring the streets of Chicago and making stops at local farmers’ markets and street festivals. 

Farjado was only 7 years old when he learned about the coffee process. At the age of 10, he already knew how to cut, dry andwash coffee. 

Coffee has always been a big part of the Farjado family. 

“We have planted coffee farms since I was a child,â€� Farjado said. “I was born on the farms. My grandparents had coffee farms too.â€� 

At the age of 17, Farjado emigrated to the United States and provided his family with a little money since the farm was going through bad times.

“When I saw the price of a coffee in coffee shops here in the U.S, I remembered how I worked in Guatemala with my family, that there were times when my father lost money from his farm,� Farjado said.

Fajardo and Reese say that when they started selling the product from the farm here in the U.S. and seeing how people support them was a great satisfaction.

“I like to work with my family,� Farjado said. “They are happy with the work we have harvested. I am happy because my family supports us a lot in our vision of Anticonquista Café.�

Fajardo is a big fan and expert on coffee.

“I really like coffee,� Farjado said. “Anything that has a coffee flavor tastes good.�

Reese says that Farjado’s mother roasts the coffee beans on the comal, a smooth flat griddle. When someone buys roasted coffee here in the U.S., the entire coffee bean is evenly roasted. There is more control in roasting coffee beans. 

“A lot of marketing will talk about artisan roasted coffee, but actually when we start roasting it here with the machine, it is very much like a science-based roast,” Reese said. “Artisan roasting happens when Elmer’s mom does it. It’s more intuitive.”

Making coffee is laborious and necessitates a lot of effort to cultivate it. 

At Anticonquista Café they not only sell delicious coffee, but also have workshops that teach the history of coffee.

“We have brought coffee that has not been sorted so our clients can choose the coffee and see the defects,â€� Farjado said. “We want them to see the part of the work that happens on a farm.” 

Reese says it’s important to educate their consumers about how coffee gets here, but also to talk about the history of coffee.

“There are a lot of people who work in the coffee industry, but not by choice,� Reese said. “It is something that is taken for granted among other things here in the U.S.�

“Much of the coffee comes from the farmers,â€� Farjado said. “This is a point I want people to take into account. We want the farmers there [Guatemala] to receive more money for their product.â€� 

Although Anticonquista Café space is not large enough for community programming, their goal is in the future to have a larger space to offer immigrant resource events that organizations in Chicago can help facilitate. 

They not only want to give back to the Chicago community, but also provide opportunities in Guatemala.

“We want to give Guatemalan women employment in our business, because it is difficult for women to earn more money than men,� Fajardo said. “Anticonquista Café can be that change and provide more employment in Guatemala.�


Cover Photo: Anticonquista Café grows its coffee beans in Central America and sells and roasts them in Chicago.Photo: @anticonquistacafe | Instagram

Erika Pérez(@_Kika_Perez) is the Managing Editor of La DePaulia. She’s specializing in Communications & Latino Media. Erika is most empowered when writing about the uplifting stories of the Latinx community. She’s been reporting for La DePaulia’s news section for two years.”Email her at managingladepaulia@depauliaonline.com


Publisher’s Notes: You can read Erika’s Spanish language version of Anticonquista Café brings a unique coffee experience to the Logan Square and Hermosa community by clicking on Anticonquista Café trae una experiencia de café única al vecindario de Logan Square y Hermosa.

Illinois Latino News (ILLN) and La DePaulia are partners in best serving the Hispanic-Latino community.

The post <strong>Anticonquista Café brings a unique coffee experience to the Logan Square and Hermosa community </strong> appeared first on ILLN.

Immigrant families demand investigation, alleging discriminatory treatment at clinic

“No mother wants to lose her child. It’s something extremely painful, that has no cure and there’s no replacement,â€� Ligia Guardado said. “Nothing they say will bring my baby back.â€�

Immigrant women and mothers in Massachusetts are calling on state officials to investigate complaints of discriminatory and substandard care at East Boston Neighborhood Health Center (EBNHC).

In July 2020, Guardado noticed her 40-day-old baby, David, seemed tired, listless, and his lips were turning purple. She took him to EBNHC, where she said they listened to his heart and lungs.

“They said it wasn’t significant,� Guardado said in a Spanish-language interview, reported GBH News. She explained that the appointment lasted around 20 minutes before clinic staff told her son was fine, and to take him home.

David had the same symptoms the following morning, so Guardado returned to the clinic. This time, she said, he was put into an ambulance. David stopped breathing en route to Boston Medical Center and was revived once, but then he stopped breathing completely. 

“When we arrived, they said ‘There was nothing we could do. Your son is deceased,’â€� Guardado remembered.

Patricia Montes, head of Centro Presente, a Boston-based Latino organization assisting the families, says immigrant patients have repeatedly reported substandard, discriminatory treatment at the clinic, resulting in “misdiagnosis, worsened health conditions, even death.�

“The experiences of these families lay bare not just these broader, systemic issues, but some specific concerns relating to such a trusted institution as the East Boston Neighborhood Health Clinic which was created specifically to address the health care needs of populations such as these Central American immigrant families,� she said.

Advocates say they’ve identified about ten impacted families and individuals and are interviewing others.

“State law forbids health care providers from discriminating on the basis of race, national origin, sex, or MassHealth insurance status,� Iván Espinoza-Madrigal, executive director of Lawyers for Civil Rights said in a statement. At a news conference this week, Espinoza-Madrigal argued that the state should still conduct a civil rights inquiry because their evidence shows that immigrants, women and those on public health benefits have borne the brunt of the substandard care.

East Boston Neighborhood Health Center declined to comment on those and other examples cited by the advocates, reported the Associated Press. The clinic said it sought a meeting with Centro Presente and the families it represents when they first raised the complaints last month, but none agreed to meet.

It also said it’s launching a patient advocate office as part of a broader effort to “listen to our patient voicesâ€� that also includes cultural awareness and diversity trainings for medical staff.

State Attorney General Maura Healey’s office  said it plans to meet with the families to hear their concerns; the public health department confirmed it received the complaint and is investigating.

EBNHC is the largest community health center in Massachusetts.

“More than 70,000 of our patients identify as Latinx, and more than 65% of our office visits are with patients whose primary language is Spanish,� the organization said in a statement. EBNHC‘s Interpreter Services Department conducted more than 190,000 interpretations last year in nine different languages using its in-house interpreters alone.


Cover Photo: Patricia Montes, executive director of Centro Presente, stands outside East Boston Neighborhood Health Center as part of a protest in repose to allegations that immigrants have received poor quality care. Photo by Sarah Betancourt.

Publisher’s Note: This story is an aggregate from GBH News, Associated Press, WJAR.

New strategies hope to build trust and reach the vaccine hesitant 

“What we noticed within the community is, honestly, people seem fatigued of hearing about Covid,� said Iliana Barreto, a community organizer with the Granite State Organizing Project (GSOP) who coordinates the group’s vaccine efforts at the Centro Latino de Hospitalidad drop-in center. Barreto told the NH Business Review, “It’s been two years, going on three years now, and they just feel like they just want to get over it. Unfortunately, that’s not the reality we’re living.�

As COVID-19 restrictions ease in New Hampshire and across the country, community and health organizations like GSOP continue to push for COVID testing and vaccinations by pounding the pavement, going where the people are to build trust.

Barreto said much of the GSOP’s work continues to revolve around debunking misinformation.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in December, nearly 50 percent of unvaccinated adults said they were concerned about possible side effects. The survey showed that about 28 percent of unvaccinated adults also wanted to wait and see if it was safe. About 42 percent said they don’t trust the vaccine.

Sarah Jane Knoy, executive director of the GSOP, said many people are still worried about the false claim that the vaccine impacts fertility.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is currently no evidence that any of the COVID-19 vaccines cause fertility problems in women or men.


SUGGESTION: NHLN Opinion+: Sarah Jane Knoy


Knoy said the group employs volunteers and community outreach workers, who speak the native languages of the people they are trying to reach.

It’s about connecting people with similar lived experiences with each other.

Last month about 49 percent of Hispanic-Latino residents have at least one shot in New Hampshire, compared to about 56 percevt of white residents, according to state data. 

About 58 percent of Granite State residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, compared to roughly 65 percent of the country.


Publisher’s Note: The story is an aggregate from NH healthcare organizations try new strategies to reach the vaccine-hesitant.

New Hampshire Latino News amplifies the work of others serving the Hispanic-Latino community.