Culture

Latinos Make Up A Large Portion Of ‘Essential Workers’ And This Latino Comic Book Is Honoring Them In The Best Way Possible

If the Coronavirus pandemic has shown us anything, it’s that real-life heroes can be found all over. During the global crisis, regular people have realized that everyone from a fast food restaurant worker to a farmworker is a hero in their own way. It’s these people, many of whom are minorities, who have helped keep the country going during these unprecedented times. To so many of us, these front-line ‘essential workers’ are indeed heroes.

One Mexican-American comic book creator, Hector Rodriguez (of El Peso Hero) decided to put these real-life superheroes on the pages of his popular comic book and we couldn’t be more excited.

The best-selling comic book now features America’s front-line workers as the real heroes who are keeping the country running.

Credit: El Peso Hero / Rio Bravo Comics

Comic books are known for telling larger than life stories and inspiring their audiences – and that’s exactly what El Peso Hero is doing with his latest edition. Rodriguez is using El Peso Hero to tell the story of thousands of invisible workers – many of whom are undocumented Latino workers holding America together.

“Comic books are a great way to help people connect,” Rodríguez told NBC News. “But very few stories focus on the people who are feeding us.”

In this special pandemic issue, which is available for free, “El Peso Hero” takes a supporting role to a nurse and other essential workers facing tough day-to-day challenges as the country struggles to combat Covid-19.

In his interview with NBC News, Rodriguez said he hopes his comic can inspire Americans to reimagine themselves in the stories of millions of invisible workers who serve their communities.

It’s more important than ever to shine a light on the often invisible workers who are so vital to this country.

Credit: Salud America / Twitter

For Rodriguez, he hopes this edition will help shed light on the hard work and dedication of millions of invisible workers. People from all backgrounds can find common ground with these front-line workers who like so many Americans are simply trying to create a better life for themselves and their families.

“This is definitely a contrast from “El Peso Hero” fighting corruption, drug cartels, and racism on the border,” Rodríguez said. “Fans will see him in a supporting role to real-life heroes, helping a nurse bring medical masks to agricultural workers, and deliver a much needed message of solidarity and positivity to a community that is often marginalized in the shadows.”

Rodríguez himself comes from a family of immigrants — his grandfather moved from Mexico to Montana in the 1940s as a part of the Bracero Program, which brought in millions of authorized workers from Mexico to the U.S. to work on farms.

What inspired the El Peso Hero comic book series to begin with?

Credit: Rio Bravo Comics

El Peso Hero is a rogue hero standing up to Mexico’s cartels, corrupt border officials, and human traffickers.

Rodriguez told NBC News, “I wanted to create someone like Luke Cage in Harlem, but living in between southwest Texas and north Mexico, who fights cartels, and defends unaccompanied minors and families crossing the perilous border.”

It was stories his grandfather told about drug traffickers attacking vulnerable immigrants on the border that inspired him to create “El Peso Hero.”

“El Peso Hero” started off as a web comic in 2011, and is now scheduled to make its movie screen debut in 2021. The comic gained cross-border fame in 2015 after the Mexican superhero took on then presidential candidate Donald Trump — who started his campaign by saying Mexicans coming to the U.S. were rapists and criminals

This edition of El Peso Hero is so important and special given the bravery and selflessness of front-line workers.

Credit: Tom Barton / Getty

Across the country, millions of Latino workers, many of whom are undocumented, are working on farms, in meat packing plants and govern stores as “essential workers,” while much of the country is shut down for quarantine. Unlike many workers, they don’t have the privilege to work from home and instead are putting themselves and their families at risk to keep the country going.

Historically they are marginalized as outsiders and live in constant fear of deportation. But now the pandemic is showing how vital they really are to society.

The U.S. government calculates that roughly half of all crop farmworkers—1.18 million in 2019—are undocumented. A recent article from The New York Times reports that growers and labor contractors think it could be closer to 75 percent.

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Just After Congress Approves $600 Stimulus Checks, Trump Threatens To Veto The Bill

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Just After Congress Approves $600 Stimulus Checks, Trump Threatens To Veto The Bill

Pixabay

Updated: December 23, 2020

Just days after the U.S. Congress approved legislation that would send millions of Americans much-needed stimulus checks – even though they were only $600 – Donald Trump has thrown the entire plan into chaos.

Donald Trump threatens to veto historic spending bill.

Trump is holding a veto threat over recently passed, bipartisan legislation that was aimed at stimulating a suffering economy. Trump says that he wants lawmakers to boost the $600 direct payments to checks for $2,000 but his own party is basically united against increasing the size of checks.

Many point out that Trump is simply holding up the legislation, not for the stimulus checks, but because he objects to other parts of the law. Within the spending package, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle approved spending for arts and cultural programs as well as aide to developing countries across the world.

Original Story Published: December 18, 2020

So it looks like millions of Americans may end up getting that long overdue second stimulus check after all. So long as Congress doesn’t screw things up again.

As part of the latest round of negotiation between Democrats and Republicans, it looks a like a proposal for $600 direct payments is back on the table. However, $600 is literally half of the amount that was sent out to millions of Americans back in April and May.

A new stimulus package could include direct payments to millions of Americans.

Congressional leaders are considering a new deal to help stimulate the economy which has been battered by the Coronavirus pandemic. And although it appeared, as recently as last week, that a second stimulus check was off the table, that seems to have changed.

The new deal under consideration included new stimulus checks and enhanced federal unemployment benefits, according to reports by Politico. Even President Trump said in a TV interview over the weekend that he wants stimulus checks in the deal, saying he wants to “see checks—for more money than they’re talking about—going to people.”

Millions of workers aren’t getting any help from the largest emergency aid deal in US history.

The bill, known as the CARES Act, delivers direct payments to most taxpayers, vastly expands unemployment benefits, and makes testing for the virus free, among other provisions.

But although unauthorized immigrants are no more immune from the effects of the current crisis, the stimulus bill conspicuously leaves them out in the cold — potentially putting them at greater economic and health risk, and impeding public health efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus.

There are an estimated 10.7 million undocumented immigrants in the USA who are ineligible for emergency federal benefits or state unemployment insurance because they don’t have valid work authorization. 

That’s left an extra layer of anxiety for immigrants without legal status who have lost their jobs or seen work hours reduced amid the statewide shutdown of “nonessential” businesses. Many turned to local organizations for help to put food on the table and pay other expenses. 

Undocumented residents are already at greater risk of being affected by Covid-19 because of inadequate resources and access to health care.

The unauthorized worker population is particularly vulnerable to the virus due to inadequate access to health care. Noncitizens are significantly more likely to be uninsured compared to US citizens, which may dissuade them from seeking medical care if they contract the virus.

Compounding matters are the Trump administration’s hardline immigration policies — including wide-scale immigration raids and a rule that can penalize green card applicants for using Medicaid — which have made noncitizens afraid to access care. These factors pose a problem for America’s efforts to slow the spread of the virus, which has killed more than 12,000 in the US as of April 7.

Where the government is failing, advocates and organizations are stepping up to help.

Some immigrant advocates lobby for the undocumented to be included by allowing payments to those who file taxes using individual tax identification numbers, which are often used by workers without legal immigration status. 

“They should include at least the individual taxpayers,” said Diana Mejia, founder of the Wind of the Spirit, an organization that helps immigrants in New Jersey’s Morris County.  “They are paying taxes,” she added in an interview with CNN.

Filers who use ITINs contribute about $11.74 billion in state and local taxes each year, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a Washington think tank.

Aside from millions of undocumented migrants, millions of others are also being left out of the stimulus:

Credit: Department of Treasury

College Students and 17-Year-Olds: If someone else claims you as a dependent on their taxes, you won’t get your own check. Parents will get an extra $500 payment per child, but that’s only for kids under 17.

Most 17-year-olds, some young adults and many of the country’s roughly 20 million college students are claimed by their parents as dependents. They won’t get checks, and their parents won’t get an extra $500.

Disabled People: People who get disability benefits from the Social Security Administration or Veterans Affairs are eligible for the payments — but not disabled adults who are claimed as dependents by their parents or other relatives on their taxes

Seniors Who Live With Family: Senior citizens who are on Social Security or make less than the income cap are eligible. But the “dependent” rule applies to them, too. Some seniors who live with their adult children or other relatives are claimed by them as dependents on their taxes. Those seniors won’t get checks.

Immigrants are eligible for some free testing.

Credit: Pixabay

Here’s one thing the bill does offer to unauthorized immigrants: free coronavirus testing at government-funded community health centers through a $1 billion federal program. But some community health centers have already reported shortages of tests.

There is also a larger, state-level testing program funded through Medicaid, but that’s only available to Medicaid-eligible immigrants — green card holders who have lived in the US for at least five years, immigrants who come to the US on humanitarian grounds such as asylum, members of the military and their families, and, in certain states, children and pregnant women with lawful immigration status. Those groups, however, make up only a small proportion of immigrants living in the US. 

US Citizenship and Immigration Services has announced that it won’t consider use of free testing services when evaluating whether immigrants will likely end up relying on public benefits under the “public charge” rule, which went into effect in February

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Thank You To All Of The Essential And Frontline Workers That Guided Us Through Covid This Year

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Thank You To All Of The Essential And Frontline Workers That Guided Us Through Covid This Year

FG Trade / Getty Images

This has been a tough year for just about everyone. Covid-19 spread across the world forcing governments and businesses to shut down. Billions of people were forced to quarantine to stop the spread of the new virus that was infecting and killing millions. Yet, despite the ongoing pandemic, some people worked to keep the world moving forward.

Frontline and essential workers maintained the essential parts of society that keep life moving forward. They kept the grocery stores stocked and managed so we could eat. They filled prescriptions to make sure that no one had to go without their medication. They kept hospitals clean so nurses and doctors could do the work of saving lives from an unknown virus that was spreading through the country.

As the world hid, a brave few worked daily to keep us in our comforts and we owe them an immense debt of gratitude.

Thank you. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for putting yourself in harm’s way so we could survive. History will back at this time and remember the millions of people who we could not live without. They did what so many of us could not.

There was a palpable fear in the air in mid-March. Cases of an unknown virus were appearing everywhere in the world. Community spread was recorded as the virus arrived in new countries. It crossed borders with ease because of how connected the world is at this time. Borders were closed. Cities, states, and countries announced lockdown orders shuttering non-essential businesses to protect lives.

We were scared.

From that fear emerged the frontline and essential workers. Society had a chance to see the people that we need and who support us. Grocery store workers, farmworkers, pharmacists, nurses, and so many other people became our first line of defense. They braved the virus to protect us.

Thank you for everything you have done and continue to do. You are the reason we are anywhere near the other side of this pandemic. Your tireless work to maintain the flow of food, medicine, and paper products saved lives.

In thanks, mitú stands with the essential and frontline workers in urging our readers not to travel or gather this holiday season. After months of working non-stop during this pandemic, essential and frontline workers need us to stay home. They need us to do what we can to slow the spread during this second wave. By staying home, you keep them safe from potential exposures as cases continue to climb in the U.S.

We can make a big difference if we follow guidelines. We must keep practicing social distancing, wearing our masks, and listening to health care experts. Do it for the essential worker in your life. Do it for the real life heroes who continue to work as the pandemic rages on.

READ: 28-Year-Old Nurse Dies From COVID-19 Hours After Filming a Heartbreaking Video For His Family

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