Although the White House has been slow to provide information to those who don’t speak English, here’s a list of organizations that have done their part to help Spanish speakers.
The Trump administration’s lack of diligence in distributing translations of important and potentially life-saving information in other languages beyond English can put non-English-speaking communities at greater risk of missing vital information and contracting COVID-19. An example of this took place two weeks ago when the White House and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) produced a set of coronavirus guidelines. But it wasn’t until a day later, after Bold PAC -the Democratic Political Action Committee dedicated to increasing the diversity of leadership in the House and Senate — took the initiative to translate the material themselves, that the White House released a Spanish-language version of the guidelines.
Additionally, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has Spanish translations for its main COVID-19 website, but these don’t have all the resources available on the English-language site, despite the fact that FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has the FEMA Language Action Plan.
To some observers, the White House’s lack of response demonstrates the administration is not concerned about the importance of reaching out to all communities during a pandemic. Meanwhile, the federal government’s inaction is leaving the states to do what they can, sometimes offering rudimentary Google translations of the information.
So what to do when you want to provide your friends and family who don’t speak English with information during the pandemic? Here are some Florida sites that provide help and information to Americans who only speak Spanish.
A Hotline for Emotional Help
A 24-hour bilingual hotline is available to all Floridians to provide emotional support as they grapple with feelings of stress, anxiety and grief due to the coronavirus pandemic. Florida Blue partnered with New Directions Behavioral Health to create the helpline, which is toll-free and connects individuals with licensed clinicians free of charge in both English and Spanish. This service is available to those who do not have insurance or have coverage with another health plan. The emotional support line can be reached at 833-848-1762.
Coronavirus Information and Updates
The Florida Department of Health, a cabinet-level agency of the state government headed by the state surgeon general, offers information about COVID-19 in English, Spanish and Haitian Creole. Not all the information available in English is provided in Spanish. But the site offers daily coronavirus updates and prevention guidelines and resources, such as Frequently Asked Questions, in Spanish.
Florida Immigrant Coalition Hotline
The Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC) is a statewide alliance of more than 62 organizations,, including farmworkers, students, service providers, grassroots organizations and legal advocates, working to protect the rights of immigrants through community education, organizing and advocacy. For help or information on issues related to the novel coronavirus in Spanish, call 1-888-600-5762. If no one is available, FLIC will call you back.
Help Paying Your Bills
If you’re laid off from work, working fewer hours, or otherwise facing economic hardship and are having trouble paying your bills, you can find help in Spanish at USA.gov, an online guide to government information and services.
Feeding America Resources in Spanish
Feeding America works to get nourishing food – from farmers, manufacturers, and retailers – to people in need. In their Spanish language site, visitors will be directed to different services and types of help available, such as a food bank locator in their area, Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and help for families with seniors, among others.
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Spanish
The Centers for Disease Control site in Spanish doesn’t have all the resources available on its English-language site. For example, although there is an instructional video in English to make your own cloth mask, the instructions in Spanish are written, and the safety tips on how to buy groceries, for example, are provided in English only. Still, the site does have medical information on symptoms and testing, as well as what to do if you are, or suspect you are, ill with COVID-19. It also has a Spanish language video with coronavirus graphics.