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.
— Stock (@capastock) June 1, 2020