AUSTIN, Texas - Before the sun peaked over the Lechonera el Pachango Puerto Rican food truck, Eduardo Flores, also known as “Bayo”, spray painted a few finishing touches on his mural.
The mural is part of a series called “No Seas Wey,” which loosely translates to “Don’t be a fool,” in Spanish. The painting shows a man proudly wearing a surgical mask, with the words "pride", "family", and "we are together" written in Spanish.
“It signifies a lot of things,” said Matt Reyes, campaign lead for No Seas Wey. “It signifies pride in the fact that we are a very strong and resilient community here in Austin.”
Reyes and a group of creatives saw the detrimental impact COVID-19 has on the Hispanic community and wanted to educate people.
“We know that Hispanics are being impacted for various reasons it is due to a lot of pre-existing conditions, living in a multi-generational household and also being essential workers,” Reyes said.
According to Austin Public Health’s COVID-19 data, Hispanic account for 51% of cases, 50% of deaths and about 55.9% of hospitalizations, in a city where about 35% of people identify as Hispanic.
“No seas wey, is a very colloquial way of saying to be responsible,” said Alejandro Ramirez, member of the No Seas Wey campaign team. “I think we all felt a responsibility, there is a miss information issue going on. Let’s try to help the situation, let’s try to make it easier for the community to be educated and be informed about the virus and learn how to coexist with the virus."
The mural at 2701 E Martin Luther King Jr. is a first of this size for Bayo. Smiling behind his mask, Bayo wants his design to remind people to wash their hands, keep social distancing, and simply wear a mask.
“I hope it helps make people conscious that wearing the mask is the minimal thing we can do,” said Bayo.
Each mural will have a QR code sending onlookers to a site filled with COVID-19 information in Spanish. The group wants the campaign to develop other important social issues.
“No Seas Wey is a platform for social issues, and we’re starting with the issue that is impacting Hispanics the most,” Reyes said, “We plan to expand this campaign into a platform for social causes and issues from voter registration to get-out-the-vote efforts.”
The No Seas Wey mural campaign was funded through donations by the community and was a collaboration of many local volunteers. For more information, click here.