Thanks for reading Chatham County’s leading news source! Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing to the News + Record – you can do so by clicking here.
So ends another year — but one unlike any other. 2020 has been full of isolation, economic hardship and loss. The COVID-19 pandemic's arrival to the U.S. brought unpredecented closures, economic strife and government relief measures.
The virus especially hurt the Hispanic community, and not just in Chatham. Nationwide, the Hispanic community had a disproportional share of confirmed COVID-19 cases; in Chatham, over half of cases originated in the Hispanic community, even though Chatham County's population is about 13% Hispanic.
From August to now, La Voz de Chatham has reported on many of the challenges and inequities the pandemic has brought and exacerbated. Hispanic-owned businesses tended to receive less pandemic relief aid than others, and many Spanish-speaking parents struggled with remote learning, due to the language barriers, little technological literacy and cultural differences.
Many Hispanic churches, often younger than many white or Black churches, also struggled to maintain connection with their congregations and remain financially afloat while helping those in need. Many people have lost family members and friends to the virus. Some haven't seen their families or friends in a long time, either, thanks to the abbreviated lockdowns and pandemic restrictions. And even if they have, it's not the same.
“Hispanics have something very in common that we are very sociable,” Luis Armando Lucas, the owner of Tres Estrellas in Siler City, told the News + Record in August. “For everyone, we shake hands. We give each other a hug. ... Now everyone distrusts one another. There is like that fear of approaching another person.”
Despite the hardship, loss and abundance of challenges, 2020 has also been a year of resilience, endurance and innovation, as reflected here in La Voz de Chatham's "Top 10 Moments."
"Our people ... want to work and provide for their families and to be able to do it in peace and because of need and difference in particular situations in which they find themselves in, they are resilient to the nth degree," Father Julio Martinez of St. Julia Catholic Church told the News + Record in August. "They plow through everything, and they take a lot of crap. ... I never cease bending the knee before my people. Never."
Access all content on our website, including our e-edition, at a discounted rate while also being environmentally friendly.
Get your 1-year digital subscriptions for only $39.
That's just 10¢ per day for the great coverage of your local news!