It started with a rally at Los Angeles Trade Technical College.
Hundreds of people gathered from various community groups across the city. Carolyn Bell and Sharon Diggs-Jackson were sporting colorful “Vax for the Win” t-shirts.
What You Need To Know
- Gov. Newsom's cabinet officials were in Los Angeles to canvass neighborhoods with low vaccination rates
- Several community groups have been going door-to-door to promote the benefit of the vaccines and reach low-income and immigrant populations
- It's all part of the recent "Get Out the Vaccine" campaign, supported by state funding and community partnerships
- Community groups say they have signed up more than 4,000 people in the LA area in the past week
"Having our canvassers come and be easily recognized, we know that that will be helpful," Diggs-Jackson said.
The two recently hired 25 canvassers to go door-to-door in Long Beach, letting people know the vaccines are free, safe and can help end this pandemic. Their goal is to reach 20 to 40 households per day, but they say teams have been hitting more than 100 a day.
"We’re trying to provide them with information that will help them to make that decision, maybe to change their mind, to dispel any myths that they may have," said Diggs-Jackson.
After the rally, California Sec. of Government Operations Yolanda Richardson, who Gov. Gavin Newsom calls the "unofficial vaccine czar," joined Ricardo Márquez to walk the neighborhood.
"[It was] a little bit nervous, nerve-racking, but I think it’s an honor to meet her," Márquez said.
The pair went door-to-door encouraging residents to get vaccinated. Their first stop was a success, signing one man up for an appointment.
"We believe there are so many more people out there who have not gotten vaccinated that want to get vaccinated," said Richardson, who has spent months working to get efforts like these off the ground. "Actually getting to see this at work is just incredible."
"Typically, out of every 15 houses, you get one," Márquez added.
It's one more person who won’t spread the virus. Márquez said understands the mistrust among immigrant populations. He grew up in El Salvador and came to Los Angeles when he was 12. He just graduated college and is the first in his family to do so.
He said he’s proud to serve his community and spread the word to stop the spread of COVID-19, adding that he never knows who he’ll meet or what he'll find.
One house, for instance, had a tortoise hanging out in the front yard.
Márquez offers every person a free box of masks, and if nobody is home, he’ll leave information in multiple languages about how to get vaccinated.
"They’re waiting for their neighbors," he said. "They’re waiting to see how it turns out, and I ask them, 'What are you waiting for? How long is the wait?'"
"It’s too new for me," said one man, who added that his wife was already vaccinated.
"If you’re going to do it anyway, at least be in that drawing," Richardson told him.
Richardson said she knows not everyone will be swayed, but it won’t be for lack of trying.
"I think you have to look back on this and say we did absolutely everything we could to encourage, motivate, support and empower people to save lives," she said. "No stone should be left unturned."
And after a year of isolation, meeting people face-to-face may just be their best shot.