Since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, MIRA has worked tirelessly to ensure that Mississippi’s immigrant community has access to important health resources, information, and even financial support. As soon as COVID-19 shots were available, we began holding vaccination events in collaboration with partners like the Mississippi State Department of Health, the Urban Institute, and the Jackson Free Clinic. In 2021, we focused on providing first and second doses of the vaccines for adults; and this year, we are delivering booster shots to those already vaccinated, and reaching out to families now that the shots are authorized for children ages 5 and up. With our partners, we’ve distributed thousands of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
We’ve adapted our outreach strategy, because some people no longer feel urgency to get vaccinated or protect themselves against the virus. However, many migrants are at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19 due to factors like chronic health conditions, and limited access to healthcare. We are now partnering with HEAL Mississippi, an organization that focuses on reducing chronic health conditions related to obesity, especially in low income and rural areas where resources are at a minimum. Together, we are hosting pop-up health events with screenings for diabetes, hypertension, and obesity; as well as COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters. We plan to add more essential medical services, including offering influenza vaccinations and dental cleanings.
Misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic is a major concern in Mississippi, so we provide accurate educational information in Spanish, and often serve as translators during vaccination and health screening events. Lead MIRA Organizer Luis Espinoza and new MIRA Organizer Nataly Camacho have helped create a bridge of trust between health providers and immigrant communities around the state, ensuring that individuals and families have access to the life-saving vaccine. We also identify “ambassadors”—leaders from within the communities—who can bring family and friends to our health events, and share accurate information with them.
In March 2022, the Jackson Free Clinic honored Luis Espinoza with the “2022 Jackson Free Clinic Impact Award” during its anniversary fundraising gala, for his (and the MIRA team’s) outstanding efforts to combat COVID-19.
The pandemic is not over, and we are staying vigilant to provide health resources to Mississippi’s immigrant workers and families.
Your support is critical—please give
The last two years have been challenging for all of us. While we’ve increased our staff and and scaled up our outreach to make the vaccination campaigns happen, the economic impact of pandemic has been severe, which means that we have not received the same level of donations and grants as in prior years. In order to be able to continue the work we do, we need your support. Please give generously, in any amount you can, to help protect and defend immigrant rights in Mississippi.