LOS ANGELES, CA – Actor Nicholas Gonzalez from ABC’s television series The Good Doctor will serve as the main spokesperson for the #Masks4Farmworkers campaign to protect farmworkers during COVID-19 crisis led by Fashion Designer Mario De La Torre, Justice for Migrant Women, Hispanic Heritage Foundation, and National Center for Farmworker Health,
“I am honored to be asked to be the spokesperson for the #FaceMasks4FarmWorkers campaign,” said Gonzalez. “The injustice and danger our migrant farmworker brothers and sisters face on any given day is a travesty. In our current fight with COVID-19, they are even more deadly. We all must stand for humane conditions and enhanced protections for those that provide us all with an essential, life-saving service. I humbly stand alongside Mario de la Torre, The Hispanic Heritage Foundation, National Center For Farmworker Health and the tireless Monica Ramirez and Justice For Migrant Women.”
Best known for his portrayal of Dr. Neil Melendez in the ABC global hit, “The Good Doctor,” Gonzalez is a Texas native and Stanford graduate who is recognized from a dense resume of some of TV’s hottest shows. Nicholas’ passion for humanity exceeds his entertainment work and in depth character portrayals. As a father, husband, actor and activist, Nicholas is committed to projects, both on camera and off, that highlight the injustices, struggles, and victories of the human condition.
There are 2-3 million farmworkers who put themselves at risk by continuing to pick, pack and plant the fruits and vegetables that families across America are depending on more than ever amid the COVID-19 crisis. Not only do farmworkers labor shoulder-to-shoulder with each other, they also can inhale pesticides or field dust, which can trigger asthma attacks and other serious respiratory problems–all of which puts them at an even greater risk during the coronavirus pandemic. De La Torre and his team of designers will be sewing tens of thousands of masks, and much more depending on funding, to protect these vital and valued members of America’s workforce and communities.
The #Masks4Farmworkers campaign is another facet of Justice for Migrant Women’s ongoing advocacy in support of farmworkers, including the Farmworker Pandemic Relief Fund that they established in conjunction with Hispanics in Philanthropy. To contribute, visit https://hipgive.org/project/farmworkers-covid-19-pandemic-relief-fund/.
“Farmworkers have always been at risk of illness and harm, but that risk has increased exponentially with COVID-19,” said Mónica Ramírez, President of Justice for Migrant Women. “Their work conditions make it nearly impossible for farmworkers to be able to abide by the social distancing, handwashing and other requirements that health care professionals say are necessary to prevent the transmission of the COVID-19 illness. We are grateful to Nick Gonzalez for allowing us to leverage his position as a public figure in support of our farmworkers.”
The federal government has deemed farmworkers as essential workers during this time of crisis. Advocates have raised many concerns about the threat to farmworker health, given the already poor working and living conditions that exist for farmworkers across our nation. Farmworkers earn poverty wages, many live in overcrowded housing, and they often do not have required soap and water in the fields in order to wash their hands. Advocates have raised particular concern about the well-being of migrating workers who live in labor camps and often travel in buses and vans with multiple workers. There is a fear that many workers could become sick and fear that they will not have access to the medical care that they need in order to get required treatment. Given that the overwhelming majority of farmworkers are undocumented or from mixed status families, many will not qualify for some of the most important benefits and protections being offered under the stimulus bills, including free COVID-19 testing and the stimulus checks.
“All Americans should care about protecting our farmworkers,” said Antonio Tijerino, president and CEO of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation. “Every single time we take a bite of food, we should think about the importance of our farmworkers. And now we need to do our part to protect them not just from COVID-19 but from the all the risks they deal with to nobly nourish us and our families. Nick Gonzalez truly understands the importance of protecting these everyday heroes and we appreciate his commitment to #Masks4Farmworkers.”