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NC Latinos Hold Sen. Tillis Accountable for False Comments Blaming Hispanics for Coronavirus Spread

Updated: Jul 20, 2020

NC Latinos Hold Senator Tillis Accountable for False Comments Blaming Hispanics for Coronavirus Spread

NC Latinos to Tillis: “We are waiting for Senator Tillis to apologize.”

**Listen to the full call audio here**

Raleigh, NC – Today, Piedmont Rising and Poder NC hosted a press call to dispel misinformation surrounding Senator Thom Tillis’ claims, earlier this week, blaming the disproportionate spread of the coronavirus in North Carolina on Latinos not wearing a mask.

In a virtual town hall on Tuesday, Senator Thom Tillis claimed that North Carolina’s Hispanic and Latino North Carolinians are less likely to wear masks and social distance and are to blame for the spread of the virus in North Carolina. A report published this week by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention directly contradicts Tillis’ statements.

In a press call, Thursday, Piedmont Rising and Poder NC described Tillis’ comments as racist, demanding an apology from the senator

Jessica Coscia, Piedmont Rising, noted recent reports which directly contradict Tillis’ statements and criticized Senator Tillis’ spread of misinformation through these comments as irresponsible:

“The data available makes it really clear that you don’t have to be a statistician or a scientist to understand why these remarks are blatantly false and irresponsible. As a Latina, I am appalled. I am disappointed. This type of misinformation is so irresponsible … We are waiting for Senator Tillis to apologize.”

Irene Godinez, Poder NC, shared her personal experiences with the pandemic and called on Senator Tillis to focus on solutions rather than pivoting to racism while addressing the health crisis:

“To think that on top of surviving this pandemic – the worst in our lifetime – we as Latinos have to now deal with having a target on our backs imposed on us for our mere existence here in North Carolina is shameful and merely racist.”

Cristal Figueroa, Poder NC, noted how lawmakers’ ongoing failures on pandemic relief, PPE, and addressing workplace protections have disproportionately impacted Latinos:

“The truth is that Latinos have been disproportionately affected by this pandemic due to the lack of resources provided by the government – and that includes you, Senator Tillis. The truth is that Senator Tillis needs to ensure healthcare protections to all North Carolinians and, yes, Senator Tillis - Latinos are North Carolinians.”

Natalia Diez, Piedmont Rising, reminded participants of Senator Tillis’ history of hurtful comments directed at North Carolina’s Hispanic community noting that in 2014, Tillis described white North Carolinians as “the traditional population” while dismissing Black and Latino North Carolinians:

“I am Latina and I am also a North Carolinian, but Senator Tillis doesn’t consider me so. And truthfully, it’s really disheartening to hear someone who represents me – who has a responsibility to represent the Latino community – continue to fail in that duty.”

You can listen to the full audio of the call here.

Media Contact:

Jessica Coscia


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