COVID-19 and Its Effect On the Latinx Community

Izar Olivares, Co-Managing Editor

Due to this, these communities are struggling more than ever to provide for themselves…”

— Izar Olivares


Many students and individuals have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic because of the sacrifices they have had to make to not only stay above their schoolwork but to also maintain their jobs amidst the country’s current situation. Although everyone is struggling to make ends meet, currently it is DACA recipients and undocumented communities that have suffered the most. With their lack of social security numbers and paperwork to prove they are hard-working individuals, they aren’t able to get the necessary resources and aid that is provided by the government because that is only available to U.S. citizens. Due to this, these communities are struggling more than ever to provide for themselves, whether they are students or parents, as well as their families. This is why it is important for communities to come together and provide the necessary aids to those who need it but are not able to receive as much help as they should be.

During these difficult times, I had the pleasure of talking to Karina Solano, a current junior at NEIU who is also a DACA recipient. Being a full-time student and having to take four classes, Karina finds it difficult to manage all of the assignments, even if three of her classes are in-person. Because of COVID-19, the U.S. has had to enforce social distancing in which many individuals have had to work from home, causing schools to turn to online learning as their main source of education for all grades, including Universities. This has caused a mix of emotions for students because even though many are grateful to be in the comfort of their own home, the resources that had been available to some students throughout the year are unable to be accessed from home, limiting their abilities to learn at full extent. Being a DACA student, Karina has already had to face many challenges, such as the struggle of getting accepted to universities or receiving financial aid to pay for school. Now the resources she often uses on campus are limited because of the stay-at-home order, therefore, her challenges to continue to manage her classes significantly increased. As Karina states, her classes became more difficult as professors would not accommodate to the new online situation and were not making class online-friendly for students. She expressed her concern over other students who might not have the resources to take the classes online or that their situation and “I believe that my classes are more stressful than they were before. It’s hard to have my household accommodate my schedule of having tests and assignments to do at certain times. Since I am always home, they think I have free time and give me chores to do but they don’t realize that I still have class and deadlines for assignments”. Since her family has also been affected, the household has been harder to manage due to the sudden shift in schedules. 

In addition to her school being affected, Karina was also affected by COVID-19 when it closed down due to the restaurant/bar closure. According to her, “losing my job affected me more than I thought because the money I was earning from work is supposed to be going towards paying for tuition and now I won’t be getting that money”. This puts her in a difficult situation not only when looking for a job during this pandemic, but also when figuring out how she will be paying the rest of her tuition since her main source of income was suddenly cut off.

…individuals utilized this situation to grow stronger and become closer together than before…”

— Izar Olivares

Despite the amount that COVID-19 has impacted all communities, individuals utilized this situation to grow stronger and become closer together than before, especially in the Latinx community. When asked if she had seen any type of growth in the communities around her, Karina stated,  “there is a lot more support for local businesses instead of support for big corporations. Especially in Little Village, people are starting to buy food from street vendors and small restaurants because they know it’s a tough time for them”. Whether it is a small restaurant on the corner of the main street or someone selling street food it’s important to support those businesses because the money they receive from working all day and making homemade food, could be their only source of income and what they use to provide for their households. In the end, if our community wasn’t brought together by the fact that we all believe that the government should have taken COVID-19 precautionary measures now, as well as before this grew into a pandemic, it was brought together by supporting local businesses and providing resources to those who we know aren’t able to receive as much as they should be.