We are Catholic, we are Evangelical, we are Protestant. There exist many differences between us but one of the things we have in common is our love for people and our Latino community.
The Covid-19 pandemic has taken the lives of almost 600,000 Americans and the Latino community has been one of the communities devastatingly and disproportionately impacted.
Much has been written about vaccine hesitancy among Latinos and the myths that have circulated within faith communities. As Latino faith leaders, we feel the moral responsibility to lift our voices in response to these persistent challenges to vaccination. For several months, we have worked as a network of Latino faith leaders, together with the Ad Council and the Covid Collaborative, on an unprecedented national education campaign to ensure that Latino communities are informed about the facts on Covid-19 vaccines and supported by robust vaccination efforts.
We understand that as clergy, many within the Hispanic community view us as trusted brokers. Our commitment to the health and wellbeing of our community has compelled us to join this essential life-saving initiative. Throughout our national campaign we have preached hundreds of sermons; hosted dozens of virtual town-halls with medical experts and clergy; produced a Spanish-language Public Service Announcement; conducted dozens of television and radio interviews; and partnered with volunteer congregations across the nation to host vaccination sites.
The collective actions of our Latino faith communities have made it easier to mobilize churches around vaccine outreach and education efforts and as result, has made it easier for the Latino faithful to get vaccinated. The good news is that our efforts, and that of countless faith and community leaders, is yielding results. Thankfully, an increasing number of Latinos are being vaccinated. Still, while much progress is being made, there remains much work to do.
As we prepare for summer, we are focusing our efforts to get across the finish line on Covid-19 vaccinations. This week, President Biden announced a National Month of Action with the goal of getting 70% of U.S. adults with at least one shot by July 4 th, so that more people can get the protection they need to be safe from a pandemic that has taken the lives of so many Americans.
As part of our commitment to the health of our communities, we are calling on all pastors, congregations, parishes, and people of good will to join our national call to help reach this goal. Latinos are an essential part of reaching herd immunity and achieving significant progress against this pandemic. One out of every 4 children born in the United States is Latino and U.S. Latinos are over 60 million strong. But sadly, Latinos are twice as likely to get infected, twice as likely to die and three times as likely to be hospitalized due to COVID -19.
Our prayer is that as we prepare to celebrate Father’s Day and Independence Day, that we also move past the myths and disinformation towards a time of safe gatherings where we can return to the celebration of birthdays, baptisms, Quinceaneras, weddings, and special events together with loved ones.
As pastors and priests, over the last 18 months we have comforted countless families by officiating at funerals, conducting hospital prayers via cell phones, and counseling children struggling with isolation and despair. As spiritual caregivers, we know well the shared grief of our congregations, families, and front-line workers who have prayed for an end to this pandemic. Now is our time to move closer to the answered prayer of protecting more people against the virus.
As we amplify our efforts, we invite the millions of parishioners in our Latino faith communities to continue to step up and respond to this urgent call to action. Now is the time for action that reflects our deepest commitments to life, health, and love of neighbor. Our collective Christian voices join as one to say, “We can heal, let’s do it together!”
For more information visit www.getvaccineanswers.org
( Rev. Dr. Gabriel Salguero is the President of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition; Rev. Jeanette Salguero is Executive Vice-President of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition; Rev. Enid M. Almanzar, is Associate Pastor, Civic Engagement at the Primitive Christian Church; Rev. Carlos L. Malavé, is Executive Director at Christian Churches Together; Fr. Manuel Dorantes is with the Archdiocese of Chicago; and Rev. Dr. Victor Aloyo, Jr. is Associate Dean for Institutional Diversity at Princeton Theological Seminary.)