When David Gonzalez’s father and stepmother caught COVID-19, he found that the virus affected more than just their health. Their jobs and their ability to provide for their families were now at risk.
This was an “eye opener” for Gonzalez, so he decided to share his family’s story and the impact of COVID-19 on the Latino community in a short documentary, “The Seeds They Grow,” released last month as part of PBS ‘ Had its premiere. Latinos are essential series.
The Latinos are Essential series contains a collection of short films by artists from all over the United States, including Puerto Rico. Serial producer Jennifer Maytorena Taylor said Latino Public Broadcasting developed the project, calling for “stories that appeal to the diversity of Latino communities across the country and honestly show – but also – the devastating effects of COVID on Latinos and other color communities.” the strength, ingenuity and spirit of these communities to help themselves and others. “
Maytorena Taylor, also Gonzalez ‘professor of film production at the University of California at Santa Cruz, felt it was important to show a story from the Central Valley, as well as one from the perspective of a younger filmmaker, of what Gonzalez “makes perfect”.
In the nearly four-minute documentary, Gonzalez said the pandemic highlighted key workers, but his father, Juan Gonzalez, an undisclosed cook and stepmother who are housekeepers for a hospital always got the job done, regardless of title .
He never expected COVID-19 to affect him or his family, he explained, and the news was shocking when his father told him during a video family group chat.
“When they brought me this news, I felt that this was over now. I think about my family, I think about the last days of my life,” said Juan Gonzalez in the documentary. “The worst part is you go to the hospital and they don’t have any medication for it.”
As he spoke more to his family, he saw that their main concern was to have enough money to take care of the expenses. His stepmother said in the documentary, “For us Latinos, the main concern isn’t, ‘Oh, I have COVID and I’m sick.’ Instead it says, “I can’t work.” “How do I pay the rent?” The money is a bigger worry than the illness. “
“That was a big eye opener for me. I didn’t know how much they were dealing with financial difficulties,” explained Gonzalez. “Latinos have always made a living for their families, but now their lives are threatened.”
Gonzalez couldn’t help his family during their illness because he was still at UC Santa Cruz, but extended family members brought groceries to their doorsteps. His stepmother returned to work in two weeks, while his father took more than a month to recover and was still struggling with complications.
His family’s experience with COVID-19 doesn’t change what he thinks of them and their work, Gonzalez said. However, it makes him more appreciative of their victims to see the seeds they planted to ensure their children grow and grow to greatness in the United States.
Other documentaries that are part of the Latinos Are Essential series feature a Colombian construction and domestic worker working at the height of the pandemic in New York City, the San Francisco Mission District and the city’s Latino Task Force and PanchoPescador, a Self-taught Chilean artist and teacher bringing art and life to the streets of Oakland.
Gonzalez is one he can create with his heart, he said, and looks forward to highlighting other issues facing the Bakersfield Latino community in future projects. He never thought he could share his family’s story with viewers across the country, but said he was grateful to be “part of something bigger than me”.
“This program will take a closer and more personal look at the Latino community and the way COVID has interacted with the community,” he said. “Every community is different, but the stories are the same.”
Ema Sasic can be reached at 661-395-7392. Follow her on Twitter: @ema_sasic.