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Pilsen, Little Village, West Loop

Spanish-Language Coronavirus Town Hall Being Held With Mayor Wednesday

The Wednesday night town hall comes as Latino neighborhoods are struggling with coronavirus.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot answers questions at a press conference on the updates about COVID-19 in Illinois on Friday, March 20, 2020 in Chicago.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — Mayor Lori Lightfoot is partnering with the Marshall Square Resource Network for a Spanish-language town hall to discuss coronavirus Wednesday night.

The town hall, which airs 5:30-7 p.m. on Facebook, is part of the mayor’s Racial Equity Rapid Response team’s efforts to address health disparities being experienced by communities of color amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The town hall will be broadcasted on the mayor’s Facebook and Twitter.

“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,” Lightfoot said in a press release. 

“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.”

Latino communities including Little Village, Brighton Park and Belmont Cragin are among the hardest-hit neighborhoods in the entire state. As of Wednesday morning, the 60623 ZIP code, which includes Little Village and Lawndale, has had 2,166 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Related: Chicago’s Latino Neighborhoods Have Most Coronavirus Cases In The State. Is The City Doing Enough To Respond?

Critics have said city and state officials have been slow to increase testing and share resources to slow the spread of the virus in Black and Brown communities.

Just a month ago, the Latino community accounted for 14 percent of cases and 19 percent of deaths in Chicago. But in instances where a patient’s race or ethnicity is known, Latinos now account for 41 percent of Chicago’s COVID-19 cases and 26 percent of the city’s deaths, according to city officials.

Latinos account for 29 percent of the city’s population.

The city created its Racial Equity Rapid Response Team in early April after data showed Black Chicagoans were being disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Now that Latinos are particularly hit hard, the focus of the team has been expanded.

The town hall will be co-hosted by the Marshall Square Resource Network, a collation of more than 40 community partners.

Latinos Progresando CEO Luis Gutierrez called the data among Latino communities “alarming.” Latinos Progresando is the lead agency of the Marshall Square Resource Network.

“It will take all of us working together to get through this,” Gutierrez said in a statement.

Gutierrez said the Marshall Square Network is working to share accurate information in Spanish.

Residents can access the town hall by dialing in at 312-535-8110 and using the access code 960 269 802#.

Residents can also email questions in advance to communityengagement@cityofchicago.org.

Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.

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