She reported on Latino communities as COVID spread. Help The Sacramento Bee fund her work

·3 min read

Buenos días, California.

My name is Kim Bojórquez. I’m a Report for America corps member covering Latino issues in California for The Sacramento Bee’s Capitol Bureau.

I first arrived in Sacramento last summer, in the middle of the COVID-19 health crisis and social turmoil spurred by the death of George Floyd, a Black man who was killed by a white Minneapolis police officer.

On my first day, I covered how Latino and Black Sacramentans — communities disproportionately impacted by the virus — weighed the risks of staying home or hitting the streets to protest against racial inequity. For many, the moment was too important to miss.

Historically, the stories of Latino communities, including their struggles and resiliency, have not been adequately represented in local news coverage, despite the fact that Latinos account for 39% of California’s population, half of the state’s frontline workforce and 54% of the state’s K-12 public school students.

In my current role, I want to change that.

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Before moving back to California from Utah, I grew up in Southern California. My mother owned and operated a taqueria in the Latino neighborhood of Westlake, near downtown Los Angeles. As I waited for her to get off work after school, I remember climbing the counters of her food truck to finish my homework.

After living and working as a journalist in Utah, I’m glad to be back.

So far I’ve covered a number of California issues impacting the state’s Latino residents.

I reported on how the Trump administration’s efforts to exclude undocumented immigrants from the census would impact California, the state home to the most undocumented immigrants in the nation.

I wrote about Latino representation in California’s public offices and the barriers that prevent more Latinos from running in the first place.

I interviewed dozens of California voters during the 2020 election about their attitudes on local and national races.

And I continue to cover the most important story of the year: How the pandemic is devastating Latino communities across the state.

In California, Latinos make up about half of the state’s COVID-19 cases and deaths, according to data from the California Department of Public Health. To date, about 1.6 million Latinos in the state have contracted the virus, and more than 27,000 have died from it — a number similar to the population of Monterey.

Amid this health crisis, Latino Californians are twice as likely to be uninsured compared to other ethnic groups. They are also suffering from disproportionate job losses. Despite the need, state services such as rent relief and unemployment benefits aren’t reaching enough low-income Latino Californians.

Most of these health and economic inequities already existed but were amplified during the pandemic.

Ten months into my work, I’ve just started scratching the surface. My job is not done. That’s where your help and support come in.

Donate to The Bee’s Spring 2021 Campaign

Since 2019, The Sacramento Bee has utilized philanthropic partnerships to add to our reporting team — expanding our coverage on equity and the coronavirus pandemic.

Your continued support allows us to deepen our coverage of COVID-19 and our area’s recovery. Make a tax-deductible gift to help keep The Bee’s reporting in our community strong.

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Checks should be mailed to: McClatchy, PO Box 15779, Sacramento, CA 95852.

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