tags: , , , AVEF, Press Releases

American Hero: TPS Holder & Harvard Custodian Stayed on the Job to Fight Pandemic, Contracts Covid-19 Symptoms

Share This:

But Trump is Still Attempting to Deport Frontline Workers Putting Their Lives on the Line to Protect Our Communities

Wilson Wong at NBC News reports that a custodial worker for Harvard University has contracted symptoms for what could be Coronavirus. Doris Reina-Landaverde, a member of the Service Employees’ International Union (SEIU) and organizer of the Harvard TPS Coalition, has been working for the university on the frontlines of the Coronavirus pandemic performing custodial duties even after all the students left. 

Workers like Reina-Landaverde are putting their health and safety on the line to keep the spread of Coronavirus at bay under utter chaos thanks to the Trump administration’s unpreparedness and incompetence. All the while, the administration is actively trying to deport them back to dangerous conditions and separate them from their families. If this administration succeeds in terminating TPS for hundreds of thousands of people with U.S. citizen children and family members during a global pandemic, it will incur devastating effects to American families, communities, and businesses for years to come. 

It is Congress’ duty to protect TPS holders from the looming fate the Trump administration has tried to implement, and ensure TPS holders can continue living and working in the United States in peace.

Wong’s reporting is excerpted below:

When Harvard University students were told to pack their bags, essential workers like Doris Reina-Landaverde remained on campus to disinfect dormitories. Now, she says, she has the symptoms of the coronavirus.

Harvard closed its doors March 10 to slow the virus’ spread and switched to online classes. In the meantime, custodian Reina-Landaverde continued to show up to work every day with a pair of latex gloves and a mask.

But when the supply ran out and she asked her supervisor for more masks, Reina-Landaverde was told there weren’t any left.

“Students were the ones who donated my mask,” she said.

Reina-Landaverde, like all Harvard custodians, is provided personal protective equipment consistent with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said university spokesman Jason Newton.

… Reina-Landaverde, 41, has worked at Harvard for almost 15 years after she arrived from El Salvador 20 years ago with temporary protected status granted by the Department of Homeland Security, which allows recipients to legally live and work in the U.S. She quickly became a leader in labor activism on campus.

She got involved in contract negotiations for janitors in 2016 as shop steward for her local affiliated with the Service Employees International Union. Reina-Landaverde, who is married and has three daughters, later organized with the Harvard TPS Coalition, which advocates for a path toward permanent residence for families like hers.

… Reina-Landaverde called it a “shame” that the wealthiest university in the nation can’t supply basic protective wear, relying on student donations, instead.

“I feel like the university doesn’t care about me or my co-workers,” she said. “We are human beings. I feel like a vacuum or a broom that you only use when you need it.”