The Mid-Atlantic Latinx Vaccine Equity Coalition, or MALVEC, has a mission. That mission is to get all Latinos in Maryland to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Our efforts to achieve this goal have been made by sharing accurate information through social media platforms. Although this has been effective, our real work is being done on the ground.
Thanks to the help of our community health workers, we have been able to reach Latino communities in a more intimate and personal way. Our community health workers have been able to educate and inform Latinos about the benefits of the vaccine, as well as direct them where they can get vaccinated. It is important to highlight the work that our community health workers are doing, because at the end of the day, vaccinating Latinos and saving lives is the result of their hard work and determination.
This is Jhoselyn, one of our community health workers. Jhoselyn grew up in Montgomery County and did all of her education in the area. With a Guatemalan and Salvadoran background, Jhoselyn has always stayed in touch with her roots. Until the age of 16, Jhoselyn visited her family in Latin America four times a year. This constant exposure to her culture and heritage has helped shape her into the person she is today.
As many Latinos can relate, Jhoselyn grew up in a single parent home. In his house was his mother, grandmother and little sister. Jhoselyn even said, “I’d say that’s where a lot of my headstrong, independent attitude comes from.” From this point of view, Jhoselyn can understand the situations many Latinos find themselves in. Having this perspective has been a key reason Jhoselyn has been able to work so well with the Latino community.
Jhoselyn’s service during the COVID-19 pandemic has been of great help to the Latino community. Jhoselyn has not only been working with Latinos to get them vaccinated, but she has also expressed how her work has made her feel more connected to her Latino community: “I would definitely say that the most rewarding thing is ironically helping Latinos, that has been the most rewarding because I see my grandmother, or like my uncle. I see my family in these people, in this community, so I definitely feel like, oh man, I hope someone can help them… making it almost nice.”
It is important that community health workers like Jhoselyn are highlighted for their genuine passion and love for the Latino community. Not only is she knowledgeable about COVID-19 and the vaccine, but being Latina herself has helped her better understand the community.
Having people like Jhoselyn has been a fundamental reason why we, as MALVEC, have been able to strive to achieve our goal of keeping our community safe and healthy. The work that all community health workers like Jhoselyn do will help the Latino community thrive and thrive, even when times seem bleak.