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Northern Nevada COVID-19 Awareness Efforts In Spanish

A woman wearing a facial mask with “Pongamos de Nuestra Parte” ("Let's Do Our Part") printed along the side. She is standing in front of a cabinet filled with doughnuts, slices of bread and other baked goods.
Courtesy of Ivet Contreras
A community member dons a “Pongamos de Nuestra Parte” ("Let's Do Our Part") face mask at Panedería Azteca México, a bakery in Sparks, Nev. Distributing branded face masks is part of the campaign’s outreach efforts.";s:3:"u

Lee en español.

Across the country, Latino communities have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Washoe County officials recently launched an outreach program to more effectively communicate with the Spanish-speaking community.

KUNR’s Natalie Van Hoozer spoke with Ivet Contreras, who’s involved with this campaign and says she’s basing her strategy on an understanding of the Latino culture.

Natalie Van Hoozer: Would you mind talking a little bit about the different campaigns, the English one and the Spanish one? Why have two campaigns? What's the difference?

Ivet Contreras: The City of Reno, the City of Sparks and Washoe County have come together to put forward this campaign. “Pongamos de Nuestra Parte” means “Let's do our part,” and that is acknowledging, in our view, our collective Latino values and tendencies. The only thing that basically unites the English and Spanish campaigns is the branding and the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal is to reduce the spread of the virus, but the way that we get there is different.

A graphic for the “Pongamos de Nuestra Parte” COVID-19 outreach campaign. A composition with various Northern Nevada community members wearing facial masks.
Credit Courtesy of Ivet Contreras
The “Pongamos de Nuestra Parte” (“Let’s Do Our Part”) Spanish-language COVID-19 outreach campaign highlights the pandemic experiences of Latinos in Northern Nevada.

Van Hoozer: So how is it different?

Contreras: Traditionally what we've seen when there are campaigns on any topic, usually the Spanish campaign is an extension of the English campaign. It's just a translation. That's not effective because what's really important is that your content is customized to Latinos. Out of the respect for the Latino community, it needs to have its own identity. It's also about building on the Latino cultural strengths, which is about “familia” and “family,” and acknowledging that a lot of Latinos are also on the front lines of this pandemic.

Van Hoozer: Talking about the outreach needed for a campaign like this, how are you able to reach the Latino community more effectively? What do you think works?

Ivet is standing near an employee at a local business. Both are women and are wearing facial masks. Ivet is also holding a box of facial masks.
Credit Courtesy of Ivet Contreras
Ivet Contreras distributes face masks to the employees of Krazy Fruits and Snacks in Sparks, Nev.

Contreras: Our objective with this campaign is to reach Latinos in a meaningful, grassroots campaign that really understands the generational differences and backgrounds of the local Latino community, and it meets Latinos where they are. We're trying our best to continue that community outreach in a way where it's safe. That's why we're leveraging our relationships with people in the community — Latino figures, Latinos role models, Latino leaders — that have won the trust of the community.

One thing we're working on right now relates to how important face-to-face, personal touch is in the Latino community. COVID-19 has really made things more difficult because that is how the Latino community communicates, face-to-face. That's how you earn trust, how you communicate information. We're trying to do this in the best way that we can during COVID-19. We created flyers and are going to areas that have high populations of Latinos who visit.

Three masked employees pose in a line in front of the entrance to Lupita's Mexican Restaurant.
Credit Courtesy of Ivet Contreras
Employees of Lupita’s Mexican Restaurant in Sparks, Nev., wearing “Pongamos de Nuestra Parte” masks.

Van Hoozer: What's the scope of the campaign. Will it continue beyond the holidays?

Contreras: This will continue. COVID-19 is changing rapidly, and so does our messaging and our focus. We've created a campaign that will change as everything changes. It's something that I'm very passionate about because I am part of the Latino community. Ever since I was five or six years old, I've always seen a disconnect between the information in English and in Spanish. For me, this is something that, since I was little, I've seen how information wasn't getting to my community. We really hope that we continue to build upon this.

More information on this outreach campaign is available in Spanish at www.seguiradelantenv.com and in English at www.maskonmoveon.com.

This story was produced in partnership with Noticiero Móvil.

Natalie is a freelance journalist and translator based in Reno, Nevada, who reports in English and Spanish. She also works for the nonprofit SembraMedia, supporting independent, digital Spanish-language media in the United States.
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