woman, eva longoria, speaking at a political rally
Source: Rick Kern/Getty Images North America

The Latinx community is being hit in disproportionate ways by the pandemic. Actor and activist Eva Longoria Baston wants to do something about it.

Longoria Baston and other leaders formed Momento Latino, a growing coalition of activists, leaders, and artists lifting their voices and pushing for change, according to the organization’s website. The coalition includes Chef José Andrés, U.S. Congress Representative Joaquin Castro, and Democratic National Committee former finance chairperson Henry R. Muñoz. Additional partners include Luz Collective and Latinx Therapy.

In Los Angeles, Latinos are more than twice as likely than white residents to contract COVID-19 and Latinos across the country make up 20 percent of the population, but account for a third of all cases, as stated in this NBC news report.

The Brookings Institute has elevated the racial disparities in how COVID-19 is affecting Latino communities. The study noted how less access to health care and a lower likelihood of working in places that allow social distancing are factors in why Latinos have greater infections and deaths than whites. In addition, as a group, Latinos are younger than other populations in the country and as more Latinos become infected, the age of those impacted skews younger. The Brookings Institute notes that “the age-adjusted death rate for Hispanic/Latino people is 2.5 times that for whites.”

Representative Joaquin Castro and his brother, Former Presidential Candidate Julián Castro, recently lost their stepmother to COVID-19 in Texas, a state also reaching alarming rates of infections with nearly 300,000 cases. Their father is battling the disease while mourning the loss of his wife.

“The Latino community, just like all Americans, need Congress to step up and pay for more testing, tracing and treatment of COVID-19, but also to handle the economic part,” Representative Castro said in this interview about Momento Latino. Castro calls on the U.S. Senate to pass the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act as a way to bring some economic relief to families who have not had a stimulus check from the Federal government in months. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel is blocking it.

The founders of Momento Latino want to seize the focus the country has on racial disparities to bring attention to the gaps Latinos face not only in health, but in education, and the economy.

“We are launching Momento Latino now because we are at a moment in time that the country is listening and engaging in social activism. We want to capitalize on that momentum,” Longoria Baston said during a press conference about the launch of Momento Latino on July 13.

“We’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how we could really use that energy and momentum to speak up for our community because we felt like nobody was really doing that, nobody was speaking to us. We think this is a time to unite and if we could unite and move forward together, we can amplify the issues, not only amplify the issues, but amplify the solutions that are positively going to affect our community.”

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