The Mid-Atlantic Latinx Vaccine Equity Coalition, or (MALVEC), has a mission. That mission is to get all Latinos in Maryland the COVID-19 vaccine. Our efforts to accomplish this goal have been done through sharing accurate information via social media platforms. Though this has been affective, our real work is being done on the ground.

From the help of our community health workers, we’ve 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 vaccine’s benefits, as well as direct them to 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, getting Latinos vaccinated and saving lives is a result of their hard work and determination.

This is Jhoselyn, one of our community health workers. Jhoselyn grew up in Montgomery County, doing all of her schooling in the area. Coming from a Guatemalan and Salvadorian background, Jhoselyn has always kept in touch with her roots. Up until the age of 16 years old, Jhosylen would visit her family in Latin America four times a year. This constant exposure of her culture and heritage has helped mold her into the person she is today.

Like many Latinos can relate, Jhoselyn grew up in a single parent household. In her house was her mother, grandmother, and little sister. Jhoselyn even said herself, “I would say that’s where a lot of my headstrong and independent attitude has come from.” From this standpoint, Jhoselyn can understand the situations that a lot of Latinos are in. Having this perspective has been a key reason why Jhoselyn has been able to work so well with the Latino community.

Jhoselyn’s service during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a great help to the Latino community. Not only has Jhoselyn been working with Latinos to get vaccinated, but she has also expressed how her work has made her feel more connected with her fellow Latino community, “I would definitely say the most rewarding thing is ironically helping Latinos, that has been the most rewarding thing because them I see my Abuelita, or like my Tio. I see my family in these people, in this community, so I definitely feel like oh man, I hope that somebody can help them…making it almost like personable.”

It is important that community health workers like Jhoselyn are highlighted because of her genuine passion and love for the Latino community. Not only is she knowledge about COVID-19 and the vaccine but being Latina, herself has helped her better understand the community.

Having people like Jhoselyn has been a pivotal reason why we as MALVEC have been able to strive towards 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 prosper, even when times may seem grim.