WASHINGTON, March 24, 2021 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — UnidosUS (formerly the National Council of La Raza), the nation’s largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization, announced today the launch of Esperanza Hope for All, an institution-wide initiative to mitigate the health, economic and education effects of the coronavirus pandemic on Latinos. The campaign builds on the organization’s national advocacy and public health response to the pandemic in 2020 and will have a core focus on promoting vaccine equity. The organization plans to raise and invest $15 million in this robust campaign to inform Latinos about the various COVID-19 vaccines and ensure that the Hispanic community is included equitably in vaccine distribution efforts across the country.
“Latinos have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and many are still grappling with the long-term health and economic effects of this virus. The COVID-19 vaccines will give our community and the nation our best chance at getting back to our lives. That is why it is critically important that we foster trust in the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines and combat vaccine misinformation and disinformation. Doing so will help put our community and our country on a true path to recovery,” said UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguía.
A recent poll from the COVID Collaborative, in partnership with UnidosUS, found that only one-third of Latinos have confidence in the COVID-19 vaccines. That same poll revealed that Latinos are willing to follow guidance provided by experts and trusted messengers in the community. The Esperanza Hope for All campaign will overcome those barriers by leveraging focused and targeted strategies and partnerships, the organization’s expertise as a trusted community voice, and its national network of nearly 300 community-based organizations across the country to disseminate culturally and linguistically appropriate information on the COVID-19 vaccines.
“We are reaching Hispanic individuals and families where they are, be it on social and digital media channels, in radio and TV or directly in communities. This includes equipping our Affiliate Network with the resources to help them do what they do best on the ground, while we build out a national strategy and reinforce the message, data and other key elements through broad-reaching mass communications efforts,” noted Rita Carreón, UnidosUS Vice President of Health.
As part of its “ground game,” UnidosUS will lean on its Affiliate Network to lead on culturally responsive education and outreach by training local trusted messengers; informing through dual-language communications; providing resources for local COVID-safe outreach and vaccination events and engaging local provider and community partners. The efforts include helping to expand equitable vaccine access through Affiliate health centers. In this initial stage, UnidosUS is deploying more than $2 million in grants to 35 Latino-serving community-based organizations including our network of Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs).
UnidosUS’s “air game” consists of a national and broad reaching multimedia communications campaign that includes:
- Mobile Marketing Tour: UnidosUS will deploy a mobile educational tour across multiple cities that will take information about the COVID-19 vaccines directly into Hispanic neighborhoods, including those living in rural and urban environments where health resources are lacking or difficult to access. It will engage local Affiliates, partners and influencers, and will include on-site activities to increase education and awareness and direct families to vaccination sites. The tour is scheduled to begin in mid-April in seven cities across the Southwest.
- Multimedia Advertising: UnidosUS is developing a bilingual COVID-19 vaccines awareness and education advertising campaign. This will include a robust dual-language advertising effort to reach Latinos through digital platforms, as well as radio and large-scale print advertising. Tactics will include targeted digital display and video activations; paid social media campaigns and paid search ads campaigns throughout key regions.
- Countering Mis/Disinformation: UnidosUS will deploy both an online and offline approach to combat mis/disinformation. Efforts aim to identify and counter misinformation in social and traditional media; ensure Latinos with digital access build their understanding of—and trust in—the science and increase vaccine confidence and intention and leverage UnidosUS’s network and advocacy work to effectively counter misinformation targeting Latinos.
- Influencer Engagement: UnidosUS will engage trusted Latino and expert micro and macro social media influencers to shape the messaging and the conversation around COVID-19 vaccine confidence and vaccines in general. These will include a wide variety of Spanish-speaking influencers including content creators, celebrities and trusted media personalities; bilingual influencers; and community grassroots leaders, organizers and advocates.
The campaign builds on a series of vaccines awareness-building and informational efforts underway since the beginning of this year. UnidosUS is a partner on the COVID Collaborative and Ad Council’s and COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative, helping to develop and distribute culturally resonant content for the Latino community. Additional efforts include:
- Virtual townhalls including a COVID-19 Vaccines: Your Questions Answered on the topic of COVID-19 vaccines that includes a panel of national and local experts including Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, Chair of the Biden-Harris COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force; and an upcoming COVID-19 Vaccine Town Hall in partnership with the Ad Council entitled: “Vacunas contra el COVID-19: Respuestas a Preguntas Claves” on March 30 at 7 p.m. ET.
- An informational social media video series in Spanish and English that answers the most pressing issues UnidosUS and its Affiliates have been receiving from Latinos across the country.
- A bilingual informational PSA featuring Dr. Robert Rodriguez, University of California-San Francisco Emergency Medicine Physician.
Latinos are overrepresented in “essential” occupations that put them at greater risk of exposure to coronavirus infection (hospitality, retail, food services, construction and agriculture). Latinos are 18% of the U.S. overall population but represent 21% of COVID-19 cases and 12% of COVID-19 deaths in the United States as of March 22, 2021 and are 4.1 times more likely to be hospitalized than any other group. The disproportionate impact is the direct result of a history of structural racism. Unjust social, economic and environmental conditions have led to a higher incidence of underlying chronic diseases and other risk factors for COVID-19.
Esperanza Hope for All’s vaccine equity efforts are backed by funding from a cooperative agreement between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and UnidosUS, and between HHS’s Office of Minority Health and Morehouse School of Medicine’s National COVID-19 Resiliency Network, The Rockefeller Foundation, Walmart Foundation, The Pfizer Foundation* and Amazon. Plus, generous in-kind support from Charter Communications, Comcast NBCUniversal and Telemundo, Google and Toyota.
“As we surpass the grim milestone of more than half a million lives lost to this deadly virus, we are reminded of the critical work that remains to lead our nation—and our community—out of this crisis. With the development and authorization of several vaccines, we are hopeful for an end to this pandemic. However, that end hinges on ensuring that our country’s vaccination efforts are inclusive of the communities that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. We all have an important role to play and UnidosUS is committed to doing everything in its power to ensure the vaccines reach all affected communities, including Latinos,” concluded Murguía.
Since the start of the pandemic, UnidosUS has been at the forefront of efforts to support Latinos who have been disproportionately impacted due to long-standing systemic health inequities and over-representation in the health and service sectors. In April 2020, UnidosUS established its Esperanza/Hope Fund to support the UnidosUS Affiliate Network and community partners’ response and resiliency in crisis. With the ongoing need, UnidosUS continues to raise resources to inform and protect Latino communities during the pandemic. To date, more than $2 million of this funding has already been disbursed to Affiliates to respond to the pandemic, including direct support to families for food and housing assistance.
Additionally, UnidosUS has served as a national partner in collaborative efforts and taskforces leading comprehensive and coordinated action to curb the spread of COVID-19, including:
- CDC Cooperative Agreement
- National COVID-19 Resiliency Network
- COVID Collaborative and Ad Council
- COVID 19 Prevention Network
- NIH’s Community Engagement (CEAL) Against Covid-19 Disparities
- COVID-19 Latinx Task Force
- Health Action Alliance
*The Pfizer Foundation is a charitable organization established by Pfizer Inc. It is a separate legal entity from Pfizer Inc. with distinct legal restrictions.
UnidosUS, previously known as NCLR (National Council of La Raza), is the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization. Through its unique combination of expert research, advocacy, programs, and an Affiliate Network of nearly 300 community-based organizations across the United States and Puerto Rico, UnidosUS simultaneously challenges the social, economic, and political barriers that affect Latinos at the national and local levels. For more than 50 years, UnidosUS has united communities and different groups seeking common ground through collaboration, and that share a desire to make our country stronger. For more information on UnidosUS, visit www.unidosus.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.