May 13, 2020

Mayor Lightfoot and the City of Chicago Announce COVID-19 Latinx Townhall

Virtual town hall meeting in Spanish-language to inform Chicago's Latinx residents about COVID-19

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334 / press@cityofchicago.org

CHICAGO – Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot will today join Marshall Square Resource Network for a town hall meeting in Spanish for Latinx residents about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Residents will be able to submit their questions through Facebook, a call-in number, or email questions in advance. This Spanish-language virtual town hall is part of Mayor Lightfoot’s Racial Equity Rapid Response initiative to address the racial health disparities exacerbated by the COVID-19 outbreak. 

“Our entire city has been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, but we haven’t experienced this crisis in the same way, with some of Chicago’s communities—especially communities of color—grappling with disproportionately high numbers of cases and even deaths,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “As part of our effort to turn these unacceptable circumstances around in our Latinx communities, we are collaborating with trusted leaders to undertake an aggressive, bilingual digital and video campaign to educate our residents and families. This town hall, in particular, will serve as a vital forum to answer important questions and get the word out on how to stay safe and protected throughout this unprecedented health crisis.” 

Created last month, the Racial Equity Rapid Response initiative is developing targeted solutions that minimize gaps in healthcare systems, creating more equity in service delivery, and providing education to help vulnerable populations improve health outcomes in the face of the coronavirus pandemic and in the future. Here and across the country, Latinx and African American communities are disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. According to recent data from the Chicago Department of Public Health, Latinx Chicagoans represent 41% of cases and 27% of deaths, although they are only 29% of the city’s total population. While African Americans make up only 30% of Chicago’s population, they represent 34% of total cases and 49% of COVID-19 related deaths.

Tonight’s town hall is hosted in partnership with the Marshall Square Resource Network (MSRN). Founded in 2010, MSRN is a collaborative of community residents and more than 40 institutional partners focused on Chicago’s Southwest Side. Together, the MSRN builds the capacity of its members to advance integrated solutions in health, education and peace.  

”The data coming from Latinx communities is alarming and it will take all of us working together to get through this,” said Luis Gutierrez, CEO of Latinos Progresando, the lead agency of the Marshall Square Resource Network. “Among all of the other work MSRN partners are doing to respond to COVID-19, a major priority is delivering accurate information in Spanish, and we’re glad to be working with the city to address this need.”  

Last week, Mayor Lightfoot participated in a live bilingual town hall with AARP and Univision Chicago. The City will also be hosting a youth town hall focused on emotional well-being, as well as events organized in coordination with the Latino Policy Forum, Esperanza Health Centers and other community-based organizations. The City of Chicago is also placing door hangers on homes in Latinx communities with high concentrations of cases, and they are working with the Greater Chicago Food Depository to include bilingual informational postcards with food distributions.

“Reaching our Latinx residents where they are is vital in reducing the further spread of the coronavirus today and improving health outcomes in the long term,” said Ald. Roberto Maldonado (Chairman of the City Council Latino Caucus and 26th Ward Alderman). “I’m excited for tonight’s town hall in Spanish-language where we will hear directly from residents about their concerns around COVID-19 and beyond.” 

Tonight’s town hall will be held from 5:30-7:00 p.m. and can be viewed by visiting facebook.com/ChicagoMayorsOffice or twitter.com/chicagosmayor or dialing in at 312-535-8110 using the access code 960 269 802#. Univision Chicago will also be streaming the town hall via facebook.com/univisionchicago. Residents can also email questions in advance to communityengagement@cityofchicago.org

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City launched the Stay Home, Save Lives campaign to inform residents about how they can stay healthy and do their part to bend the curve of the virus. For more information and updates on COVID-19, text COVID19 to 78015, email coronavirus@chicago.gov or visit Chicago.gov/coronavirus.

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