By Irene de Barraicua, Líderes Campesinas.

The concerns with Covid-19 and all its variants has us literally spinning in circles. With the different variants comes different symptoms and as we continue to modify accordingly so do the mandates and guidance by local, state, national and even global public health officials.

We are navigating in a world of moving targets exposed now to the latest Omicron and before we turn to look, here creeps in the stealth upgraded version of it.

How do we keep up with it all in order to ensure not only our own health, but our family’s, our children and the public's health?

We have the constant media reminders, the clashing societal pressures, the battle of experts all competing for our attention while dealing with our own debilitating mental health factors contributed by the pandemic. All making it more challenging to remain steadfast without succumbing to fear or surrendering.

Imagine being an essential farmworker, an immigrant who only speaks Spanish or an indigenous language and who has little to no access to healthcare and is isolated as it is without the basic essential human rights, often times making them an easy target to misinformation or no information or resources at all.

With incredible determination and dedication of several coalitions composed of health professionals, advocates and community health workers who are regarded as trusted messengers, we have not only reached out to the most underrepresented communities, but have been doing so in a culturally competent and intentional manner.  

Community Partner Lideres Campesinas
Elizabeth from Líderes Campesinas provides patients with COVID-19 information at a testing event

This work was and continues to be necessary in battling the stigma and fears around testing and Covid-19 in general. It truly makes a difference to have people available who speak their language and are closer to knowing the world they live in and come from. We have acquired more trust and engagement from the community.  This leads to great questions, more opportunities for us to learn, as well as more receptivity to testing and to getting vaccinated.

Simultaneously, the race for more vaccines and testing accessibility continues.  These efforts compliment each other.  A part of these combined efforts means we are able to streamline individuals to testing and vaccines as they become more widely available and also there is increased likelihood of receptivity among those who have remained steadily hesitant.

As a community based organization predominantly made up of women farmworkers, we are building more leaders each day and invite the community to learn and help inform and protect the community as well. We have gotten concerns about loss of work, the halt of supplemental sick pay, outbreaks at home and work.  We hear of fear of booster shots as well fearing vaccinating their children. We must remain vigilant and not let our guard down and trust those who have our best interests and health in mind.

Get tested, vaccinated and boosted and wear a mask until we get past this. ¡Ánimo!

Irene de Barraicua

Irene de Barraicua is Líderes Campesinas' director of operations.

Imagine being a farmworker, an immigrant who only speaks Spanish or an indigenous language and who has little to no access to healthcare and is isolated.Irene de Barraicua