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It is an important step that the county is coming to the Graton Day Labor Center to provide testing for its members. Day Laborers and domestic workers are a vulnerable and underserved population in Sonoma County.
It is an important step that the county is coming to the Graton Day Labor Center to provide testing for its members. Day Laborers and domestic workers are a vulnerable and underserved population in Sonoma County. Image : gratondaylabor.org

County  Provides Testing  at the Graton Day Labor Center for its Members
May 22 — May 27

May 22, 2020

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On Friday, May 22, 2020 beginning at 9 am, the Graton Day Labor Center will be hosting a free COVID-19 walk up testing site, in collaboration with the Sonoma County Health Department.  These tests are meant to be administered to the center’s members, day laborers and domestic workers, and will continue into next week.

A Crisis within a Crisis

Last week, the Sonoma County Department of Health Services released statistics that provided a revealing disparity in infection rates.  The Latinx community is being infected at 4.5 times the rate of Sonoma County’s majority White population.  The data collected by the county shows that despite representing only 27.2% of the population, Latinxs represent 58.9% of the reported cases in the county.

Graton Day Laborers and Domestic Workers recognize the importance of widespread testing in the Latinx community and step up to lead.

Day Laborers and domestic workers mostly undocumented and Spanish speaking,do the work that makes all work possible. Throughout the county they take on jobs like cleaning homes, caring for children and elders, working in the fields, and do back breaking construction labor and many other essential labor that enables others to do their work. Image : gratondaylabor.org

It is an important step that the county is coming to the Graton Day Labor Center to provide testing for its members. Day Laborers and domestic workers are a vulnerable and underserved population in Sonoma County.  Mostly undocumented and Spanish speaking, they do the work that makes all work possible. Throughout the county they clean homes, care for children and elders, maintain rural and urban properties, work in the fields, assist homeowners with moving, and do back breaking construction labor. 

Socorro Diaz, a member of the Graton Day Labor Center and of ALMAS (the center’s domestic worker organizing group), says, “We want to be a model; we need more of these community test sites that are quick and easy, and at a location that people in the immigrant community trust.”  Deysi Lopez, also a member says, “We are grateful to have access to these tests, but we need more of them at a large scale to compensate for the fear that many feel.  People are still scared after ICE was in our community this past February, just a few months ago.”

The Board of Supervisors must protect the lives of the immigrant workforce and all essential workers as they move to reopen the county.

Sonoma County has requested a variance from the state government to accelerate the opening up of the local economy, and begin Phase 2 before the state government’s mandate timeline.  “This push to reopen the local economy is simultaneously well-intentioned and immensely concerning,” says Graton Day Labor Center Executive Director Christy Lubin.  “If low-wage immigrant workers are encouraged to return to work to satisfy the labor needs of businesses, yet the county is absent of a comprehensive plan to address the racial and economic disparities COVID-19 infection statistics show, workers will be forced to choose between their family’s health and their economic livelihood.”

ALMAS Program Director Renee Salcedo adds, “We encourage the county to increase testing in the Latinx community exponentially, so as to avoid further perpetuating the racial inequities here.  The immigrant community needs political action that will not have a disparate impact on their health.”

“We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community... 
Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others,
for their sake and for our own.”

~Cesar Chavez~

 

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