2020 is now in the rearview mirror, and while it was a year of unprecedented challenges for the Latino and immigrant community, “resilience” is the main word that comes to mind. Our community has already been through so much, especially given the obstacles faced when starting a reimagined life of opportunity in an adopted homeland. That inherent strength has been passed down through the generations — and will continue to be.
Last year saw our families face greater hardship around being able to pay rent and put food on the table each night. Our small business owners and their employees faced the daily uncertainties of how — and if — they could remain open in light of public health orders. And the coronavirus had not just a disproportionate economic effect on the community, but a physical one as well. With just 15% of San Francisco’s population, Latinos still accounted for 43% of positive COVID-19 cases at year’s end.
Despite these challenges, our indefatigable families are working hard to make a living and our small businesses are devising creative ways to best weather the storm. MEDA is uniquely positioned to partner with elected officials, funders, philanthropists, community-based organizations and activated community members to best support these families and ventures.
MEDA’s current priorities are that:
- Our community members have the access to affordable housing, income opportunities and culturally relevant business services.
- Our families at Mission Promise Neighborhood schools are connected to wraparound services, so that kids continue to learn whether in school or at home.
- We plan for the period in between the crisis and its subsequent recovery, anticipating how our nonprofit can add the most value during that period.
- We plan for an equitable recovery in terms of services and systemic changes that need to be implemented to ensure that we do not go back to where we were before the pandemic.
The sun rose brightly over the Mission on New Year’s Day, signaling better times ahead. To showcase strength in numbers, MEDA’s 2021 theme has been unveiled: “Juntos, Adelante” (translated as “Together, Moving Forward”), with a hashtag of #JuntosAdelante you will see over the next 12 months as we all work on meeting urgent needs still existing in the community, plus together define better-off measures for what an equitable recovery should look like. This theme/hashtag aligns with MEDA’s longtime use of the word adelante, with our Mission neighborhood center being named Plaza Adelante, our affordable-housing new constructions Casa Adelante with the address and our Small Sites apartment buildings Vivienda Adelante with the address.
The goal of an equitable recovery should be that no catastrophe ever again disproportionately affects a community of color, whether another pandemic or an earthquake or climate change.
We can do this. We must do this. We will do this.