Mobilizing Against Hunger in Pandemic Time: NYC Migrant Communities Respond to COVID-19

Full video of the panel discussion

COVID-19 brought untold suffering to migrant workers, families, and neighborhoods across New York City, taking lives and livelihoods in vulnerable communities. Lost jobs, the exposure of essential labor, illness at home, and the uncertainties of undocumented status produced exponential hardships. As the pandemic struck, migrant-led activist networks, churches, and other allies immediately mobilized to confront the very real menace of hunger. The Hemispheric Institute, with the support of the Henry Luce Foundation, launched an initiative to support and document this mobilization through four organizations across New York City. Since March 2020, these local heroes have distributed tens of thousands of food baskets and hot meals, even as they support migrants confronting the ongoing threat of detention and deportation.

The Hemispheric Institute has chronicled the efforts of organizations and volunteers who have fed hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers. Many of those mobilizing against hunger are migrants themselves, returning the generosities of mutual aid in their communities. The updated Local Ecologies of Migrant Care archive includes 20 new, bilingual interviews that document their response to the pandemic.

On Tuesday March 9 at 5pm, we invite you to join Hemispheric Institute Director Ana Dopico and Managing Director Marcial Godoy for the inauguration of this historical documentary archive. We celebrate the work with a panel discussion featuring some of the activists and volunteers who have sustained their communities and one another by fighting hunger during this crisis.

This event will be primarily in Spanish. Simultaneous interpretation will be provided.

Myrna Lazcano

Myrna Lazcano is a migrants’ rights activist and community organizer in East Harlem, New York. Lazcano migrated to the United States from San Hipólito Xochiltenango, Puebla, Mexico, and has dedicated her life and her work to fighting for the rights and dignity of all people who are impacted and displaced by state violence.

Natalia Méndez

Natalia Méndez is co-owner and chef of La Morada, an award-winning Oaxacan restaurant and sanctuary space in the South Bronx, and an organizer with La Morada’s mutual aid kitchen. Throughout the pandemic, Méndez has been preparing and distributing thousands of warm meals to community members in the Bronx, East Harlem, and Washington Heights every week.

Miguel Hernández

A lead organizer with Saint Peter’s Church Emergency Food Program, Miguel Hernández organizes emergency food distribution in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Corona, Queens and Hunts Point, Bronx. Originally from San Pablo Guilá in Oaxaca, Meéxico, Hernández has been living in New York City for 20 years.

Jacqui Kellum-Foster

Jacqui Kellum-Foster is co-founder and coordinator of the Ministry Food Fest at Holyrood Episcopal Church ~ Iglesia Santa Cruz, a program which has distributed care packages, groceries, and warm meals to the Washington Heights community since 2002.

Próspero Martínez

Próspero Martínez is a lead organizer with the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, where he works primarily on emergency food distribution efforts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Martínez has also been key in other church programs, organizing music workshops and actions in defense of migrant rights.

Ana Dopico

Director, Hemispheric Institute

Marcial Godoy

Managing Director, Hemispheric Institute

Tuesday March 9
5:00 PM

Watch Live

Watch the live broadcast on HemiTV, starting at 5:00 PM. Available on all platforms and devices.

About HemiTV

HemiTV is the Hemispheric Institute’s portal for live streaming and virtual programming, developed for the Zoom era and beyond.

About this event series

This event is part of the Hemispheric Institute’s Local Ecologies of Migrant Care initiative, and is made possible by the generous support of the Henry Luce Foundation.

Ecologies of Migrant Care