COVID-19 hits immigrant communities across the metro

Multiple factors have heightened the impacts of the pandemic on communities of color, both financially and physically

FARGO, N.D. — North Dakota is one of three states that doesn’t share any COVID-19 data broken down by race or ethnicity, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Some communities of color across the metro say they’ve been hit extra hard by the pandemic.

For some, the pandemic even brings back memories of a world they’d hoped they could one day forget.

“There was some lady that said this corona kind of reminded her of war memories of what she had went through to come here of, ‘Now, this is happening. I’m not understanding what’s going on,’ and she doesn’t understand the language, and she doesn’t understand what is corona and what is causing it,” explained Matuor Alier of Fargo.

Alier says difficulties of navigating a pandemic are exacerbated for immigrants, both financially and physically.

An unfamiliar language, system and processes of accessing resources are all factors.

He said, “A lot of people didn’t get to apply for unemployment because unemployment is only in English or in Spanish, and you must have a computer to do that or the internet to do that.”

For those who didn’t lose their jobs, going to work means being at a higher risk of contracting the virus.

“The Liberian community has been hit as well with COVID with a lot of our Liberians being essential workers,” said Ritchell Aboah of OneFargo.

“There’s a lot of people here that work at the nursing homes that got corona,” added Alier. “The people that work in the factories that got corona.”

A Fargo COVID-19 New Americans Response team called “ESHARA” is comprised of six people and was recently formed to provide resources to these communities, but Alier says it’s not enough.

“The state needs to do something for the New American communities.”

He says it can start with the state sharing coronavirus data related to race.

“We want to see the numbers. We want to see that the neglecting is happening,” he went on to say.

The North Dakota Joint Information Center tells us a team is working on pulling together coronavirus data broken down by race for us.

We will share that information with you once we get it.

Categories: Community, Coronavirus, Coronavirus-ND, Health, Local News, North Dakota News