This time in our history casts a hue of uncertainty over everyone. It may be especially confusing for those who do not understand the language the information is given in.
Spanish-speaking members of our community do their best to stay informed but the information being spread locally is often only offered in English.
As is the case for everyone, getting factual information about the virus is of utmost importance. Paulina Navas and John Lopez with America’s Chamber of Commerce (ACC), a local chamber catered to the Latine community, encourage Spanish speakers to refer to the CDC website for translated information regarding COVID 19.They further notice that Latine businesses and individuals are monitoring KDNK radio’s website for updates in Spanish as well.
There has been a rapid communal response to assist people more vulnerable to the virus. Facebook groups such as Carbondale CO Mutual Aid Group (CMA) sprung up overnight and are connecting people in need with those willing to help.There have been requests on the CMA page that their posts be translated.
Another group, Coronavirus Community Aid Aspen to Parachute Community Help/Ayuda Comunitaria, arose to meet the informational needs of Spanish speaking locals. Each of the posts on that page includes the option of being translated; a feature offered by Facebook.
On social media ACC has started trending the hashtag #solosperdemosjuntosganamos which basically translates to: “alone we lose together we win” signifying the necessity for everyone to do their part.
Navas explains that social media is a great tool to get the word out but worries about disseminating information to older Latine persons. She says, “The problem is that our older community doesn’t use social media; they don’t know about social media.” She hopes that there will be other means of coverage in Spanish in sources such as newspapers and news broadcasts to reach this group.
As far as businesses are concerned, to Navas, “It doesn’t matter if they are not a part of America’s Chamber of Commerce. At this moment it is most important to help our community and try to overcome this crisis.”
According to Navas and Lopez, many people in the hospitality and cleaning industries opted early on to stay home and not travel upvalley for work.
They also mentioned that some businesses such as Fiesta Guadalejara in Glenwood Springs are selling overstocked disinfectants and cleaning supplies below market costs to people in need.
The duo believe at this point the Latine business community overall is more concerned with public and personal health.
Local governments are doing their best to get out informational updates but it is not consistently offered in Spanish. That said, the Town of Carbondale’s website does have a multilingual translation tool. Sally Boughton with Valley Settlement in Carbondale notes that Eagle County is posting informational videos and text regarding COVID 19 in Spanish. Boughton explains, “I think it’s really important that our county governments are getting information out there in English and Spanish… only getting information out in English is going to hurt us in the long run.”
According to Boughton, Eagle County Communications has convened “The COVID 19 LatinX Outreach Group,” which is made up of approximately 50 representatives from various agencies in Eagle and Vail Valley but also includes participants from the Roaring Fork Valley. Those agencies then dispense their collective information and resources to the Spanish speaking communities each are connected with. Boughton reiterates that “a lot of the resources are relevant for folks in the Roaring Fork Valley as well.”
Editor’s note: We’re experimenting with Latine as an easier to pronounce, pluralize and conjugate alternative to Latinx.