The NYU Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies has launched “Conversemos COVID-19” (“Let’s Talk COVID-19”), an initiative aimed at offering information about the pandemic in various indigenous and diasporic languages widely spoken in New York.
The information is delivered in 90-second video capsules translated into eight languages, including Quechua, Haitian Kreyol, Nahuatl, Mixtec, Garifuna, and Kichwa, spoken by immigrant communities from Mexico, Ecuador, Haiti, Honduras, Peru, Bolivia, and others. The capsules may be viewed online at http://idlc.nyc/conversemos-covid-19/.
The capsules are written, created, and illustrated as part of a collaborative process headed by the Indigenous and Diasporic Language Collaborative, whose members include the Mexican Studies Institute at Lehman College, Kichwa Hatari, and the Summer Linguistics School of Bolivia.
The first episode is based on recommendations promoted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Panamerican Health Organization on maintaining good mental health during the pandemic. Future episodes will focus on mask-wearing and returning to work safely, among other topics.
About NYU CLACS
The Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) was founded in 1966, as the first area studies center at NYU. Today it is one of the premier centers of its kind in the country. The Center’s national and international reputation derives from the strength of its approximately 130 research-active affiliated faculty.
As part of its academic program, CLACS at NYU offers two language programs in Haitian Kreyòl and Quechua. Kreyòl is spoken by the majority of the population in Haiti, and it is widely spoken in the Haitian diaspora, which has a strong presence in New York. Quechua is an Andean indigenous language spoken by over 10 million people, and designated a priority language by the Department of Education. Including the variant Kichwa (or Quichwa), Quechua is the most widely spoken native american language in the Americas.
Together with Columbia University’s Institute of Latin American Studies, CLACS is a federally designated Title VI National Resource Center (NRC). CLACS hosts extensive public programming, from public lectures to film series and a range of workshops for K-12 teachers.
Omar A. Dauhajre