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In March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted every aspect of life in New York City, many immigrant New Yorkers became jobless and were left without guidance. Thousands of them found Documented’s WhatsApp group and began sending us urgent messages.

yo necesito ayuda con la renta perdí mi trabajo por la pandemia y no e podido pagar mi renta si me pueden ayudar el casero ya me demando gracias espero que me respondan / English translation

 Quisiera aplicar para la ayuda económica de los inmigrantes pudieran ayudarme or favor / English translation
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(caption: messages sent to Documented via WhatsApp)

After almost a year of correspondence via this WhatsApp group, a picture began to form of some of the ways the pandemic has impacted and altered the lives of many immigrant New Yorkers so far. Their responses were vivid and multi-faceted. We wanted to spend more time with these stories.

Documented collaborated with Waterwell - a production company that tells complex civic stories - to produce this short documentary, created and directed by Frisly Soberanis, a filmmaker from Queens via Guatemala.

When Gov. Cuomo’s “New York State on PAUSE” executive order went into effect on March 22, 2020, the city transformed overnight.

Half of New York’s immigrant population became unemployed nearly overnight. As the days passed, food lines and rent debts began to grow.