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Public Employee Press: PEP Talk

Latino Heritage Committee urges, vote and be counted


Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15-Oct. 15, is a celebration of culture, language, and traditions that unite Latinos from Argentina to Uruguay, the Canary Islands to Chile, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Cuba other Spanish-speaking nations.

Traditionally DC 37’s Latino Heritage Committee holds huge and festive events at the union hall. But this year, that tradition was sidelined by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We can still observe our cultural contributions and connections at home, and remember that each of us shares our collective labor that helped build America,” said Committee Chair Carmen Flores, who urges the diverse Latino community to live the theme, Be Proud of Your Past, Embrace the Future.

“Our union has its eyes on the future,” she said. “One of the best ways we do that is to come out and support Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on Nov. 3, whether by voting in person or by mail-in ballot. There is a lot of noise out there. But the coronavirus has not canceled democracy, nor has it canceled this year’s general election, which may be one of the most important in our lifetime.”

To vote Nov. 3, you must have registered by Oct. 9. The absentee ballot request deadline is Oct. 27. It must be returned by mail and postmarked by Nov. 3 or returned in person on Nov. 3 by 9 p.m. Early voting runs Oct. 24-Nov. 1.

Latino Heritage Committee members also are concerned about the 2020 Census, food scarcity, and mental health services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Committee is focused on getting people, especially in Latino communities, to respond to the 2020 Census before the new Oct. 31 deadline.

“So much funding is tied to the census and if we want to get the schools, hospitals, and other services we need, it’s vital that we participate,” Flores said.

To help union members cope with feelings of stress, isolation, and grief over losing family and friends to the deadly coronavirus, Flores suggests members contact PSU, the union’s Personal Service Unit, at 212.815.1250, to speak with a Social Worker or mental health professional.

The Committee is also helping Latinos connect during the pandemic with food pantries and free meals distributed at more than 400 public schools. Visit, text “NYC FOOD” to 877-877, or call 311 and say “Get Food.”

“DC 37 members are the essential workers who continue to provide the vital services we need to get through this global health crisis,” Flores said.