During a TIME100 Talks discussion on Tuesday, award-winning actress and producer Eva Longoria discussed her role in new coalition Momento Latino, which aims to support the Latino community during — and in the aftermath of — the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic has deepened long-standing inequalities apparent between white and Latino populations in the U.S., Longoria told TIME100 Talks correspondent Ashley C. Ford. “Whether it’s disparities in health care, or access to quality education or lack of economic mobility,” she said, coronavirus “has exacerbated the problems within our communities and put really a magnifying glass on just how inequitable all of these areas [are].”
According to Momento Latino, Latinos make up over a third of essential U.S. workers. “That’s farmworkers, health care workers, nurses, doctors, drivers, delivery services, meatpacking plants, everything, you name it,” Longoria said. Given the pandemic’s well-documented impact, in particular, on frontline and essential workers, Longoria noted that Latinos are being “hospitalized and dying at 4 times the rates of whites from the coronavirus.”
“We thought, ‘How can we support Latinos during this time?’” Longoria told Ford. “[And] what happens in a post-COVID era? How do small businesses recover? How do they get access to PPE loans? How do parents continue to home school their children when they don’t have Wi-fi or computers?”
Momento Latino — which launched in July — is made up of a collection of activists, artists, leaders, non-profit organizations and corporate leaders. Alongside Longoria, members includes activist Henry R. Muñoz III, U.S. Congressman Joaquin Castro, chef and World Central Kitchen founder José Andrés and singer Gloria Estefan. The coalition aims to connect and uplift non-profit organizations and advocacy groups already working to address systemic issues, Longoria explained, to “unify that information in one place and make sure Latinos have access to it… It’s a lot of connecting the dots.”
Momento Latino’s name translates to “the Latino moment,” Longoria told Ford. “It’s the moment for us to really take hold of our communities and represent and advocate for [ourselves],” she continued. “This is our moment to take charge.”