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  • NYS Writers Institute

Discussion: Latinos and coronavirus, with Dan Irizarry of Capital District Latinos

Why are Latinos disproportionately getting sick from coronavirus at up to three times the rate of white Americans in New York City and other U.S. cities?

We checked in with Dan Irizarry, the chair of Capital District Latinos, based in Albany. He describes how low-wage restaurant workers in Latino communities are the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, they are double victims by being less able to access the healthcare systems and unemployment benefits that might bring relief.

Dan talks about his not-for-profit organization, which in 2018 purchased the former St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church on Central Avenue in Albany. Capital District Latinos transformed it into a community center for the Hispanic and Latino communities in the area. It provides social services including health, education, employment training and other assistance to the Latino community.

The center also hosts cultural programs that celebrate Latino music, art, culture and food. The building also houses the Castle Island Bilingual Montessori School.

Irizarry is a writer who regularly publishes commentaries in the Albany Times Union. Here is a link to his past op-ed pieces:

We planned to bring award-winning writer Valeria Luiselli, author of Lost Children Archive (2019), for an event at Capital DIstrict Latinos tomorrow, but unfortunately the coronavirus lockdown forced a postponement to a later date to be announced.

Click the arrow below to watch the video of Dan Irizarry in conversation with Writers Institute director Paul Grondahl.


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