Oral History Interview
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Lilia Fernández, Ph.D., is the Henry Rutgers Term Chair and Associate Professor in the Departments of Latino and Caribbean Studies and History at Rutgers University. In the interview, Dr. Fernández discusses the effects of the pandemic on the New Brunswick community in the spring of 2020, her own experiences and those of her family members battling Covid-19, medical care in the early period of the pandemic, accessibility and reliability of Covid-19 testing in the community, adjusting to remote teaching and learning at Rutgers, and the impact of the pandemic on students, faculty and staff at Rutgers. She delves into the recent efforts of the Coalition to Defend Lincoln Annex in opposing the closure and sale of the Lincoln Annex School, a public school in New Brunswick that serves a predominantly Latino/a student body, and analyzes how the pandemic has affected public participation in policy-making decisions. She recalls a Lincoln Annex protest that converged with a student-led Black Lives protest on College Avenue. Dr. Fernández stresses the impact that the pandemic has had upon Latino/a communities in Central New Jersey in terms of loss of lives and financial hardship, and she describes the mobilization of support by various organizations to aid families hard hit by the recession.