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Giant Mural Honoring Frontline Immigrant Workers Painted at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

GreenPoint Innovations, Eduardo Amorim

June 3, 2020 By Michael Dorgan

An enormous mural honoring front-line immigrant workers who contracted and died of COVID-19 while on the job has been put down at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

The 20,000-square-foot painting by the Queens Museum depicts Dr. Ydelfonso Decoo, a Dominican immigrant pediatrician who was one of the first doctors in Queens to die from the virus.

The sprawling artwork, called Somos La Luz (We Are The Light), illustrates a head image of Decoo dressed in medical attire and wearing a facemask. The mural is spray-painted onto the museum’s carpark.

The mural went down last week by Cuban-American artist Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada.

He said the painting pays homage to Decoo’s legacy and other immigrants who have made the ultimate sacrifice while serving their communities during the pandemic, according to a statement.

Decoo, who lived in Manhattan, was 70 years old when he lost his life to the virus in April, according to CBS. He was close to retirement but chose to go on the frontlines and treat patients battling coronavirus.

The mural was funded by SOMOS Community Care – a network of over 2,500 physicians from the Bronx, Queens, Manhattan, and Brooklyn that serves thousands of low-income immigrant families. Decoo was one of the organization’s founding members.

Rodriguez-Gerada said the painting is also a call to action to highlight the disproportionate amount of Latinos that have died in the city from COVID-19.

Hispanics and African Americans have died from COVID-19 at a higher rate than white or Asian residents, according to official data.

Rodriguez-Gerada said there are a number of reasons why the city’s Latino community in particular was hit hard by the virus.

“The lack of health insurance, the fear of deportation and the inability to pay, discourages undocumented migrants from promptly calling for help or to attempt accessing a hospital, he said.

“The large-scale works that I have created around the world all convey that we need to come together to make the world a better place,” he said.

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11 Comments

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Anonymous

Yea, so we are all immigrants in this nation. So why specify which race? Does it not encourage a further racial divide?

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An Astoria Mom

Thank you for writing about this devoted Dr. May he rest in peace. Just the other day, a friend mentioned a nurse she knew, who had just retired, came back to help out in the pandemic, & unfortunately later passed away from covid. I lost my older sister, too. Hope Sunnyside/ Woodside /Astoria has a memorial / vigil for covid victims. There have been too many..We still clap at 7pm around here, for all those helping during this time,& always.

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Legalesse

Guys, you are confused. Remember the new rule: The right word for illegals is “non-citizen”.

Those that come with documents and work legally are immigrants.

Immigrants come, help, pay taxes, learn the language. They mostly have a degree at home, like many doctors that saved lifes.

Non-citizens… all the opposite.

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Bilky

Does this mural include immigrants who came here illegally or legally or all? Does it include recent immigrants or all immigrants? Does it include immigrants of color or all immigrants? I bet we can guess the answers to all of the questions.

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Does it include a border wall?

Oh right, that doesn’t exist. You make a great point: there have been a LOT more undocumented immigrants under Trump.

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Anonymous

TR: First, “immigrant” and “non-immigrant” are not races. Second, Queens is the second most diverse borough in the city, and Corona specifically has historically been home to large immigrant and non-white communities. Its current population is majority Spanish-speaking. Furthermore, the Italian, German, and Irish residents who preceded them—who I can only assume are the direct ancestors of everyone who comments regularly on this site—were also immigrants. This country, this city, and this borough were built on immigration. Frontline workers of European decent are, of course, also worth celebrating. But thanking specifically immigrant frontline workers is especially important when immigrants—especially those from Central and Latin America, like Dr. Decoo—are under consistent and explicit political and cultural attack. He died while trying to save lives. What are you doing to help?

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I.B.

it is a parody….
If Corona, Elmhurst, and Flushing had not so many illegal immigrants cramped in 1Br apartments, the virus would spread less.

NO HUMAN IS ILLEGAL, but common, they chose to be illegals.

US Embassies are allways open. Visa information is available in all languages.

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