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One thing common to the stories of Latinos of all backgrounds, ages and social classes is the overcoming of challenges thanks to the unbeatable combination of perseverance, resilience and effort.

Those values, passed down from generation to generation, have been key to facing obstacles as serious as the coronavirus pandemic.

As in the case of Kateryn Ferreira, Community Engagement Supervisor for the New York Health and Hospitals System, who says she inherited from her mother "the strength to work, to study and to be able to help the community through this very tough thing we've been through."

Raised by a Dominican single mother who "worked all day" to support her and her sister, Kateryn had to work full-time to pay for her studies.

Ferreira drew on that same Latina perseverance in June 2020 when, right after completing her master's degree in public health, she was given the assignment of leading a team of 10 specialists in charge of building community relations and tracking Covid-19 cases.

"I am very proud to be able to say that we are part of the radical reduction of infections in New York," Ferreira said.

That perseverance, which Ferreira calls "fire," is reflected in the major role Latinos have played in the economic recovery from the pandemic.

Generating $2.6 trillion annually, the Hispanic community's contribution to US gross domestic product is growing 72 percent faster than that of the rest of the population, according to figures from the Latino Donor Collaborative (LDC).

Perseverance has been the driving force behind Latinos' ability to rebound personally, professionally and financially after losing everything.

That what the experience of Ana Flores, founder and CEO of #WeAllGrow Latina, the first network of Latina influencers and entrepreneurs, who says that Hispanics know what it is "to face challenges that seem insurmountable and do the impossible to get ahead."

MAJOR CHALLENGES

Flores, who can also boast of being the creator of the successful blog "Spanglish Baby," faced the possibility of having to close #WeAllGrow Latina in 2017.

"It was one of the hardest moments of my life," she said, looking back on having to call on Latina perseverance to change her business model and to adapt to situations such as the pandemic, which forced her last year to cancel the #WeAllGrow Summit.

"We have created a community that has challenged and broken down stereotypes about who we are and what we look like. It's what I thought about every time I felt like giving up," she said. That's why, for her, "perseverance is synonymous with Latina."

"It's something that's in our blood. Knowing that there is no challenge we can't overcome," she said.

No group suffered more than Latinos in the Covid-19 downturn.

While the overall US unemployment rate peaked in April 2020 in 14.7 percent, the level of joblessness among Latinos was 18.9 percent.

Kassandra Hernandez, the author of a study for the University of California, Los Angeles, on the economic effects of Covid-19, said that within the Hispanic population, women were "hardest hit financially by the coronavirus."

In the early months of the pandemic, the unemployment rate for Hispanic women was higher than that of their counterparts in any other US population group and that of Latino males.

After months of hard struggle, the picture is much improved and according to the latest data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment among Latinos fell in August to 6.4 percent, compared with an overall rate of 5.2 percent.

Alejandra Molinari, Lead of Latino Communications at TurboTax, a company that knows well the fortitude and challenges Latinos face daily, said that the "strength and motivation this community has to keep moving forward is admirable."

To honor and celebrate the defining characteristics of Latinos, Intuit Turbotax created and designed the #PerseveranciaLatina campaign, which highlights a series of inspiring stories like those of Ferreira and Flores to make Hispanic Heritage Month. EFE ac/abm/laa/lap/dr