Year after year, many Latinos work in the Washington state’s fields and packing houses to produce the food we consume. When the COVID-19 arrived, these workers never stopped their labor to keep running the food production needed in our state, which also helped to maintain our economy. Due to the little understanding of the virus that existed at the time and the lack of information in their language, these workers were among the most affected groups by COVID-19 in our state, reaching a high percentage of infections and deaths from the virus. But even so, the labor and contributions of these essential workers was practically invisible to the majority.
CHWCMR or Community Health Worker Coalition for Migrants and Refugees is an organization that has served as an indispensable bridge between farmworkers and the complex system created by the federal government to respond to the COVID-19 health emergency. In addition to mobilizing to promote education about the virus and its effects among the farmworkers and their families, this organization worked with policymakers and succeeded in having farmworkers recognized as essential workers in the state. This recognition allowed them to qualify to receive the much-needed federal resources that helped them and their families address the economic impact of the pandemic. Thanks to the Department of Health funding, the Community Health Worker Coalition for Migrants and Refugees has continued providing information about COVID-19 and vaccinations to these essential workers and their families.