As a Leader of the Community Health Worker Coalition for Migrants and Refugees (CHWCMR), I have 8 years working with underserved populations in Washington States and I know there are many structural barriers that exclude us from social justice.
Structural barriers are obstacles that collectively affect a group disproportionately and perpetuate or maintain stark disparities in outcomes. Structural barriers can be policies, practices, and other norms that favor an advantaged group while systematically disadvantaging a marginalized group.
Once again, Latinx, Pacific Islanders, American Natives, Blacks and Asian COMMUNITIES are FIRST in HOSPITALIZATIONs & DEATHs for COVID-19. However, we are not mentioned in any phase of the vaccine roll-out in our state. Only the fact that we are the ones who are dying should be enough to put us in the first phase with health care workers and the elderly, but this is a dream for many generations of Latinx, Blacks, American Natives, Pacific Islanders, and Asians. You call us MARGINALIZED, this is so despicable and true since once again you have marginalized us by ignoring us in the vaccine roll-out.
CHWCMR has more than 60 statewide community leaders ready to support our state to talk about the importance of vaccine, to outreach in our communities to overcome vaccine hesitancy, but no one has responding our inquires….
I wrote and left message on answering machines offering to support our authorities to outreach within our communities, because THERE IS NO OUTREACH, we are not even on the map of the phases for vaccinations, but WE ARE THE ONES WHO ARE SICK AND DYING…. I think we are underestimated, because for powerful people we are nobody, they behave as if we are people without a voice, but we do have a voice because we are Americans. We are the exploited workers of this big economy. You pay us a minimum wage to harvest food for your families, we clean your houses, we prepare and serve your delicious tacos and margaritas that you love so much, we take care of your children, and grandparent and a brown face is the last face saw for those who died from COVID-19. Because the face of your medical personal is brown. Your arrogance, your avoidance of us, your insensitivity to our culture, our heritage, and your lack cultural humility are killing all of us.
Cultural humility is the “ability to maintain an interpersonal stance that is other-oriented (or open to the other) in relation to aspects of cultural identity that are most important to the [person].”
I hope one day that powerful people will listen to us so you can meet us and work with us. Not only are we more likely to be sick and dying from COVID-19, we also are the ones who lost our jobs, our house, cars, and health insurance, because we do not have the luxury to work from home and receive income. We are not left behind, but your actions indicate that you do not care.
I am not sure how many more of my CHWs or their families need to be sick or die from COVID-19 because they are ignored and left behind. All these lives are on the hands of people with power similar to the Tuskegee experiment, there is a cure, but no for US.