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.

NHLN Opinion+: Hershey Hirschkop

Welcome to this week’s episode of NHLN Opinion+, a monthly program that is dedicated to discussing the concerns and opinions of New Hampshire’s Hispanic-Latino community.

Executive Director Hershey Hirschkop of Seacoast Outright returned to the program this week to share the work the organization has done in the past year in providing LGBTQ youth a safe space to explore gender and sexuality in a welcoming and understanding environment.

As a heterosexual man, and parent of a bisexual teenager, I discussed with Hirschkop resources Seacoast Outright also affords familial networks in supporting LGBTQ youth. “Helping parents get through this is important to kids feeling supported,” said Hirschkop. “We see parents, like you, trying to figure out, “How do I best support, my kid.”


Isabella Balta poses on the day of her Quinceañera, March of 2018

We also spoke about conscious consumerism beyond rainbow-washing. One Finance, a financial institution with banking services in Illinois has an initiative that displays someone’s chosen name on their bank card, in their account, and during all communication. The bank does not require legal documentation of a name change, does not ask customers for their gender, and only uses gender-neutral language both internally and externally.

“Naming, and how you identify and the pronouns you want to use are very personal,” she said in response to how important it is to help ease the burden on trans and nonbinary people from their dead name to their affirmed name. “When you erase that you erase the very being of who a person is.”

And for the benefit of members of our audience who are not familiar with the term dead name…dead name means the birth name of a transgender person who has changed their name as part of their gender transition.

Within a matter of months, One FInance was able to make it easy for customers to change their first name, no doctor’s forms, no driver’s license change required, just the opportunity to change their first name through a simple three-question form.

Seacoast Outright was founded in 1993 as an outcome of the “Respect for all Youthâ€� conference spearheaded by PFLAG—watch our interview with PFLAG-NH Executive Director here. Hirschkop said the volunteer-based organization has stayed true to its mission of serving, advocating for, and supporting LGBTQ youth within the Seacoast area and across New Hampshire since then. She explained that the nonprofit offers direct services to local youths but also heavily focuses on outreach and education within the greater community. Although the organization focuses on serving younger residents, it also offers groups and resources for parents, families, and older residents in general. Within the past year, the organization moved its support groups and events online to continue serving the public amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Resources mentioned in the video: 

Check out all the different support groups the organization currently offers here:

Access available resources through the link below. This list is continuously updated. 

Learn how you can support Seacoast Outright at:  

Read their BLM statement: 


Latino News Network Chosen To Participate In Democracy SOS

“We are thrilled to welcome the inaugural cohort,â€� reads the announcement by Solutions Journalism Network (SJN) and Hearken, sponsors of Democracy SOS. â€�Together, they will experiment with new ways to strengthen democracy by working with and for the communities they serve.â€�

The nine-month Democracy SOS fellowship will support reporters and editors in significantly strengthening journalism’s role in advancing our democracy through innovative approaches that build civic engagement, equity, and healthy discourse.

Democracy SOS Fellowship

The Latino News Network (LNN) is one of 20 news outlets accepted to participate in the initiative. “Journalism plays a critical role in preserving democracy,â€� said Hugo Balta, Owner and Publisher of LNN. â€�I am grateful that our newsroom will have the support to continue producing coverage that builds understanding, trust and engagement.â€�

Connecticut Latino News (CTLN) is producing the Advancing Democracy: Connecticut Solutions Journalism, a special series exploring solutions to why Hispanics-Latinos don’t vote by engaging with thought leaders in Connecticut and drawing from the best practices and lessons learned in communities across the country. The six-month program is sponsored by the SJN.

CTLN is one of the five independent news and information digital outlets that LNN oversees in New England and the Midwest.

SUGGESTION: Removing Language Barriers In Voting

Advancing Democracy: Connecticut Solutions Journalism

“The Democracy SOS fellowship will not only help us expand the solutions journalism, Advancing Democracy initiative to our other markets, but also provide our news team with invaluable training,â€� said Balta.

Newsrooms will participate in a curriculum that includes training in the Citizens Agenda approach, solutions journalism, asset framing, ethics, solutions journalism, and building trust in news alongside timely elective workshops.

Illinois Latino News (ILLN) is one of five independent statewide coverage, Hispanic-Latino editorial focus, English language news, and information websites under the ownership and leadership of nationally recognized journalist and media advocate, Hugo Balta. 

ILLN’s mission is to provide greater visibility and voice to Hispanics-Latinos in Illinois – an underrepresented community in mainstream newsrooms and news coverage.

Solutions Journalism Network (SJN): While journalists focus most of their coverage on what’s gone wrong, SJN seeks to rebalance the news by equipping journalists to investigate and explain, in a critical and clear-eyed way, how people are trying to solve social problems. Since its founding in 2013, SJN has worked with more than 600 news organizations and 25,000 journalists worldwide through in-person workshops and online resources and webinars.

Hearken helps organizations embed stakeholder listening into their growth and operations to build more resilient companies and communities. Hearken has shown that listening leads to stronger relationships, deeper engagement, and better decisions, and enables individuals to make an outsize positive impact in the world. In 2020, Hearken worked in collaboration with more than two dozen civic organizations (including SJN) to stand up and deliver Election SOS, which supported journalists in responding to critical election information needs.

Analysis: Little Change In Access To Housing Financing For Latinos

After reviewing all home loan data for 2013, 2015 analysis by attorney Christine Wellington of Derry concluded that ethnicity was the only variable besides household income that was consistently a significant predictor of loan denial.

“In short, in 2013, if you were Latino you were significantly less likely to have access to housing financing,� the report states. “This is true controlling for applicant gender; type of loan (origination v. refinancing); conventional v. government-backed; loan amount; race; denial reason; and geography.�

A report by the Concord Monitor finds that when the study was updated in 2020, Wellington and her associates noted that little had changed: “Our 2020 analysis echoes the findings of the 2015 assessment: People of color concentrated in the poorest neighborhoods still face the same obstacles outlined in 2015. By every measure, those neighborhoods faced conditions and access to opportunity far below the state average.�

According to the 2020 Census, Hispanics-Latinos comprise 7.6 percent of the population statewide, 21 percent in Manchester, and 23 percent in Nashua.

The Granite State News Collaborative used the HMDA database to analyze the lending patterns of the state’s top 20 mortgage lenders from 2018 to 2020 and found wide variation in denial rates.

CMG Mortgage, Freedom Mortgage, CrossCountry Mortgage, and Fairway Independent Mortgage all denied Hispanics-Latinos at more than twice the rates they deny whites, while Quicken Loans, HarborOne Mortgage, and Digital FCU had denial rates that were identical or within a few percentage points of each other. 

GSBC reached out to lenders with high denial rates for Hispanics-Latinos and heard back from several (see sidebar). Fairway spokesperson Alyson Austin offered an answer that was similar to what many others said.

HMDA data is “an appropriate first step in this type of inquiry,� she wrote in an email, but added, “additional analysis is needed to determine whether factors unrelated to race explain disparities observed in raw HMDA data.�

To read more about the analysis, reaction to the findings, read Discriminatory home lending persists in New Hampshire.

Cover Photo by Tierra Mallorca on Unsplash

Support strengthening to give  undocumented immigrants the right to drive legally 

“My kids were terrified to see the police,â€� testified Nadia Gonzales, a resident of Nashua who immigrated from Mexico. Gonzalez joined advocates in support of H.B. 1463 at a public meeting earlier this month hosted by the Transportation Committee of New Hampshire House of Representatives.

Local immigrants’ rights organizations in favor of three bills primarily sponsored Rep. George Sykes from Lebanon (D) say H.B. 1463, 1666, and 1093 would make roads safer for all motorists.

“A person can be in New Hampshire 100 percent legally but can be waiting for their papers for over a year because of bureaucratic delays,â€� said Sarah Knoy, American Friends Service Committee. â€œA warning became a nightmare for this family. Those children still today are terrified when they see a police officer. She’s back at home now, but the trauma lingers,â€� Knoy testified about an immigrant woman detained by ICE after a speeding ticket.

H.B. 1463 proposes a Real ID type of driver’s license allowing people to travel inside the U.S without a passport.

If approved, H.B. 1666 would prohibit the New Hampshire Department of Motor Vehicles from sharing personal information with immigration enforcement agencies.

H.B. 1093 would permit nonresidents living in New Hampshire to obtain a 180-day temporary driver’s license while waiting on their asylum status application. 

The committee doesn’t have a date to vote yet.

In Massachusetts, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would allow undocumented immigrants to get driver’s licenses.

“This is a public safety bill,” said State Rep. Andy Vargas of H.B. 4461. “It’s about making sure we keep all of our communities safe, that we have drivers that are licensed that go through the right process.”

The bill requires individuals provide documentation to obtain a license including proof of their identity, residency in the state and date of birth. The new rules would apply to those who do not have proof they are in the country legally, including those not eligible for a Social Security number.

The House voted 120-36 in favor of the measure on February 16. The bill still requires approval by the Massachusetts Senate, before heading to Governor Baker. 

Undocumented immigrants in 16 other states, including Connecticut and Vermont, are already able to get a driver’s license.

Cover Photo: Ron Lach from Pexels

Publisher’s Note: this story is an aggregate from reports by NHPR and NBC Boston.

Language Barriers Overwhelm Children of Immigrants

Iliana Barreto, Coordinator at Centro Latino in Manchester knows firsthand what it’s like for people who are not native English language speakers to be shamed. “Some feel a sense of embarrassment and some people are made to feel less than. You can get frustrated,â€� Barreto said in a recent episode of NHPR’s Visibles.

Barreto originally moved to Boston from Puerto Rico with her family and was the first to learn English. She grew up translating and interpreting for her parents. It’s a reality many children of immigrants in the U.S. live through.

The COVID-19 pandemic created new challenges for immigrants and refugees in New Hampshire seeking assistance to manage their health. Many rely on their children to navigate what can often be a frustrating process in getting information by phone or websites.

However well-intentioned, children who have to translate for their non-English speaking parents often face mental health struggles, according to a recent study. Children in these situations can typically feel like the roles are reversed. Kids are placed in a parenting role and have to make sure to “careâ€� for their parents. To ensure that they have what they need and that they can get by in a society where they don’t speak the language.

The same language barrier exists in telemedicine; a convenient and safer way to treat patients during COVID-19.

State Representative Manny Espitia (D) from Nashua, is one of the sponsors of H.B. 1390, a bill that would address language translation services in telemedicine.

Espitia told the Concord Monitor that coming from a Hispanic-Latino family where he had to serve as a translator for his parents when he was a kid, he knows the burden of not having an official interpreter.

“We want to make sure that every medical professional has access to translation service so that a patient can get the right information,� he said.

French is the leading foreign language, after

Spanish is the second most popular language spoken in New Hampshire, after English. 2.1 percent of state residents speak Spanish.

NHLN Opinion+: Sarah Jane Knoy

Welcome to this week’s episode of NHLN Opinion+ where we talk about major issues the Latinx and underrepresented communities face in the New Hampshire community.

This week we invited Sarah Jane Knoy, Executive Director of Granite State Organizing Project. Granite is a non-profit that promotes equal respect for all communities from a faith and democratic values perspective. They try to unite all communities by tackling issues such as poor housing, failing schools, barriers to citizenship, and substandard working conditions. The pandemic caused unemployment and poverty to become concerning problems in New Hampshire. “We switched from being a community center, a place where people can drop in and learn to do emergency food distributions,â€� explained Executive Director Knoy on the transition from an organizing organization to a social organization. 

Covid has prevented people from meeting in person as it has caused people to work several jobs to make ends meet. Parents are working between two to three jobs as the minimum wage is at $7.25/hour and the cost of living is high. Compared to the rest of New England, New Hampshire has the lowest minimum wage. “The state legislature has passed an increase in the minimum wage a couple of times and Gov. Sununu has vetoed it every time,â€� explains Knoy as the problem is not within the presidency, but with the governor of New Hampshire and those in power. 

As the state is aging, the Latinx community is growing and is the only way New Hampshire will grow. “The Trump years really hurt the community. We lost people due to deportation. That created a lot of fear and that fear means if you’re a member of a mixed-status family you’re afraid to go to the regular service agencies,â€� explains Knoy as she talks about the challenges brought by former president Trump onto the Latinx community. 

A lot of the members of the Granite state are religious. “Whether their faith is in the words of Jesus or the teaching of Mohamad or from the rabbinical tradition and of people of a faith but no particular religion we all come together because we believe in the shared humanity and the shared dignity that all humans deserve,� explains Knoyon how faith and similar values unite people. Bettering humanity and the fact that we were all created equal is the biggest motivator of engagement. Organizations that are not denominational believe in equal opportunity and rights without distinction.

The current administration has made progress in addressing poverty in New Hampshire through legislation. “The Biden administration implemented the Child Tax Refund and we have been helping people sign up and get those refunds. We’ve been helping people sign up to get the stimulus checks and the recovery checks,� explains Knoy.

Emergency Rental Assistance assists in living expenses for those struggling. Racial discrimination has been another issue faced due to the polarization presented through media. “Last year they passed the Divisive Concepts Law which says that school teachers can’t teach the history of racism and oppression in this country and the governor supported that. That has, I think, freed up some of the people who are threatened by the growing diversity of the state to lash out with a lot of weird behavior and hateful statements. It’s pretty telling that pretty much all of the people of color on the governor’s diversity task force resigned after he signed that law,� said Knoy. “I think we need a more enlightened state government and we need to not be so afraid of change and embrace the change that’s coming.�

Immigrants are the ones that are growing businesses and serving those in need. New Hampshire legislation needs to acknowledge these societal changes and not isolate them. Executive Director Knoy and her team have been advocating for a bill that would allow people without social security numbers to secure driver’s licenses as it can lead to a more safe environment. Young Organizers United is a program that brings high school students from immigrant and marginalized groups to receive leadership training on how to get politically involved and serve their communities. 

Resources mentioned in the video: 

Granite State Organizing Project Website:

Granite State Organizing Project Phone Number: 603-668-8250

Bill criticized for “raising fear within immigrant communities”

The New Hampshire House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee is expected to soon vote on H.B.1266, which opponents say would jeopardize the relationship between immigrant communities and local law enforcement.

“This bill would undo almost 20 years of work that we have done to foster trust in our police department,” said Eva Castillo, director of the New Hampshire Alliance for Immigrants and Refugees, one of the nearly ten people testifying against the bill at last week’s hearing.

Representative Tony Piemonte, Republican of Rockingham, sponsor of H.B. 1266, said illegal immigration jeopardizes New Hampshire’s safety and drains its resources.

The bill if made into law, would make it illegal for state or local governments not to adopt or enforce federal immigration laws; undocumented immigrants could be reported to Immigration and Customs Enforcement by police.

Representative Maria Perez, Democrat of Milford, is opposed to the bill expressing frustration at “the broken immigration system” and the language used by Shari Rendall, director of state and local engagement at the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), a supporter of H.B. 1266.

“It will prohibit jurisdictions from employing dangerous policies that provide a safe haven or sanctuary inwhich illegal aliens can live or work without fear of apprehension,” said Rendall.

FAIR is designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a a hate group.

“It is unnecessary, confusing, and vague,” said Maggie Fogarty from the American Friends Service Committee. “If enacted H.B. 1266 would trigger the risk of increased racial and ethnic profiling, animosity, and distrust of those perceived to be immigrants.” Fogarty says people of color will be targeted by the bill.

Six percent of New Hampshire residents are immigrants, while 8 percent of residents are native-born U.S. citizens with at least one immigrant parent, according to the American Immigration Council. In 2018, more than 83-thousand immigrants comprised 6 percent of the state’s population.

The percent of the Granite State’s population identifying themselves as Hispanic-Latino increased by more than 60-percent (2010 Vs. 2020), and the population remains at 4.3 percent, reports the U.S. Census.

Immigration advocates are asking people against the H.B. 1266 to share their testimony online.

Cover Photo by Mitchel Lensink on Unsplash

NHLN 3 Questions with… 2021 Recap

As the year comes to a close, the NH Latino News (NHLN) team is looking back at a year’s worth of producing content that provides greater visibility and voice to the Hispanic-Latino community. In 2021, NHLN introduced the “3 Questions With…” (3QW) podcast. 3QW is a public affairs program tackling matters most important to Hispanics-Latinos by speaking with community and industry thought leaders on…


NHLN Opinion+ 2021 Recap

What a great year 2021 has been for New Hampshire Latino News (NHLN) Opinion+, we spoke to new guests and welcomed back old friends. As 2021 comes to an end we are thankful that this year was filled with new moments that uplifted us and our community. We’d like to personally thank our reporters for all the work they do behind the scenes that never goes unnoticed. Here at NHLN…