The National Latino Evangelical Coalition’s priority is to make sure Latinos understand the difference between COVID disinformation and facts.
The National Latino Evangelical Coalition (NaLEC) is a faith-based network, but if you visit its social media pages, you might mistake it for a health clinic. On Facebook and Twitter, NaLEC is all about the COVID-19 vaccine and getting the correct information out to our comunidad.
NaLEC is one of several religious institutions and organizations around the country that is fighting hard to combat the misinformation and disinformation that is hitting Latinos via social media, which is wrongfully advising them not to get vaccinated.
“There’s just an avalanche of misinformation and maybe fear and anxiety that feeds that,” Gabriel Salguero, a pastor at The Gathering Place, an evangelical church in Orlando, Florida, and who also serves as president of NaLEC, told NBC News. “Our commitment is not to tell people what to do, but to make the information easily accessible and to give trustworthy platforms.”
One of the ways NaLEC is attempting to combat the disinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine is by hosting online panels with both doctors and pastors who are answering the questions directly from the Latino community. They’re also teaming up with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the AD Council to be able to amplify their message about the safety of the vaccine even more.
The Latino community was bombarded with disinformation during the 2020 presidential election, claiming it was fraudulent and telling Latinos not to go vote. Latinos received disinformation through social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, and TikTok. These reports of disinformation were corroborated by the FBI and Congress. The disinformation regarding the COVID-19 vaccine works the same way.
“As Hispanics, we like to gossip, pass on messages from one person to the next,” Blanca Espronceda, who works with a program called Salud y Bienestar, or Health and Wellness, told The Washington Post in a report about vaccine disinformation. “But if we listen to all the negative things people say, we will have a problem on our hands.”
Aside from religious institutions, Voto Latino, the largest Latino voter registration organization in the US, and Media Matters for America, the nation’s premier media watchdog organization, announced earlier this year the launch of a $22 million dollar Latino Anti-Disinformation Lab. This collaborative effort will help understand better and strategically combat disinformation at all stages and on all mediums, seeking primarily to influence the Latino community.