A Bilingual Radio Station Has Become a Lifeline For Undocumented Immigrants Fleeing Wildfires in California


“People are afraid to go to red cross shelters because they are afraid they will get deported. We’re trying to get help to people who are too afraid to get that help.”

So says Edgar Avila, director of programming at KBBF, the first ever bilingual radio station in the U.S., located in Sonoma County—right in the middle of Northern California’s deadly wildfires. KBBF is now the only source of information for the region’s Spanish-speaking undocumented population, many who are too worried about the threat of deportation to seek help.

About 71% of the agricultural workforce in the area is Latinx. “I have heard stories of people being force to work when they can’t breathe, when the smoke is too thick,” Avila told us.

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