Maria Alvarez: One Thing We Must Do Now

What is one thing you believe must be done now to improve how children and families are faring during the current crisis, specifically as it relates to the media and technology in their lives? 

Maria AlvarezMaria Alvarez is Vice President of Common Sense Latino, a program of Common Sense Media created to guide Latino families on navigating media and tech in our digital world.

Over the last three weeks, I’ve been watching Spanish-language newscasts every day. The coronavirus has swept away lives and jobs. But it’s especially heartbreaking to see how hard it is hitting the most vulnerable families. 

If you ask me what kids need most now, it’s obvious: They need shelter and food. They need to feel safe.  This is especially pressing for Latino children, many of whom have parents who are either still working essential jobs, or are especially vulnerable to losing their income at this time. The Pew Hispanic Center just released a report highlighting that US Latinos are among the hardest hit by pay cuts and job losses related to COVID-19

It’s vital to recognize that farmworkers, many of whom might be undocumented Mexicans, are now essential workers who are making sure we have fruits and vegetables on our tables. They have American-born kids who may be struggling with little or no hope of receiving federal aid. With this in mind, what can we do to support Latino families now?                                         

  1. Many Latino parents work in restaurants, hotels, retail, and independent cleaning services. If you have a housekeeper or nanny—even if they can’t work now—consider continuing to pay them. This gesture would go a long way towards helping ensure financial stability for their family.  
  2. Learning will be mostly digital over the next few months. Does your local school have the support it needs to make sure all families have access to broadband and devices? Some schools can use extra help from community members to locate resources and information for under-connected families.
  3. Connect with grassroots Latino organizations who are in the trenches supporting these families and ask how you can help. Volunteer opportunities you can do from home are increasingly available.


See more posts in this series:

Voices on the Future of Childhood

S. Craig Watkins | Debra Sanchez | Jenny Radesky | Karen Cator | Maria Alvarez
Michael H. Levine | Ralph Smith | Rosemarie Truglio | Vikki Katz


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