“Take a chance. Remind an unmasked person to put on a mask & if they become angry, smile and say ‘6ft away’ & keep going,” reads a tweet by Rep. Maxine Waters, D-California. 

Rep. Waters is making it her mission to encourage everyone to wear a mask in an attempt to curb the COVID-19 pandemic. She tells Inside the Issues the best way to spread the word is by example and it starts with leaders and public figures, saying, “Not only are you asking others to wear a mask, but you are doing it yourself.”

She's been working with the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles to supply masks to staff and workers. They are now focusing on getting them to the residents. 

“Many of our people in public housing have pre-existing conditions, they're elderly, they don't have resources to go and pay $5 for a mask and I think we should not forget about them,” she said. “So yes, I am pretty vocal about masks and I do want everyone to wear them.”

While Los Angeles County residents are still under safer at home orders, the city is slowly opening lower-risk businesses and other shops. Rep. Waters encourages people to continue to take precautions and take the spread of this virus seriously.

Especially young people. 

“Young people feel that they’re invincible and many of them have not gotten the message that this coronavirus kills and that you are susceptible, everybody is,” she said. “I think we have to get real with our conversation, we have to get a little bit more forceful and we have to say what our hearts are telling us in order to convince them.” 

The congressmember says wearing masks does bring up one concern: racism. That minorities may be treated differently while wearing a mask doesn’t surprise her.

“As an African-American woman, I've had to live with racism and discrimination, as others have. Whether you're African American, Chinese, Latino, etc. we all know that and we understand that,” she said. “We've already seen signs of whites who are crossing the street, who don't want to walk beside us, who not only are suspecting that somehow we may be criminal, but they don't want to be near us. I'm having conversations with a number of people about that every day. 

But, she doesn’t want that to discourage people from wearing a mask in public to protect themselves and others.

“We should do everything that we can to avoid confrontation but we should keep those masks on. For those who are fearful of us — that's their problem. If they want to move away, do that,” she said.

Watch the clip above for more.

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