PHOTO BY NATHAN KLIMA FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE
This time last year, Chelsea was making national headlines as a COVID-19 “hotspot” with the virus spreading ferociously through our city and leaving no family untouched.
Now, Chelsea is again making front page news as a model for community health distribution through local leadership, grassroots outreach, and community participation. Our city, which once had a COVID transmission rate six times the statewide average, now has one of the state’s leading vaccination rates. Our community united to stop the spread of the virus and build a foundation for pandemic recovery.
At La Colaborativa, we put our members to work, hired them as promotores de salud, and sent them door-to-door, neighbor-to neighbor, to have the important conversations about protecting our families through vaccines. None of it would have worked if it hadn’t been for the relationships and trust we had already built with our community in 30 years of empowerment initiatives.
This achievement truly took a village, with La Colaborativa joining forces with countless partners, doctors, civic leaders, and elected officials. There was Mass General Brigham, which deployed doctors and nurses into our neighborhoods to talk with residents about vaccine safety and offer mobile vaccine clinics. There was East Boston Neighborhood Health Center, which set up Chelsea’s first community based vaccination clinic at our Broadway headquarters in February, got the vaccines direct from the feds, and got some of the first shots into Chelsea arms. The City of Chelsea, Green Roots, the Black Alliance and many others were all there with us on the streets, in our neighborhoods, and on social media urging people to protect themselves and their families.
Whether its vaccines, food, housing, jobs, or healthcare, La Colaborativa and our partners are ready and will do whatever it takes to stop the suffering caused by the pandemic. Your donations will help us continue rewriting the Chelsea pandemic story.
“Those women knew what their community needed…They understood what COVID was doing and they loudly insisted that the state not look away. They loudly insisted that Massachusetts General Hospital not look away.”
DR. REGINA LAROCQUE
Infectious Diseases Specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital