COACHELLA – California Gov. Gavin Newsom made a historic visit to the City of Coachella today where he toured a vaccination site for farmworkers and recognized Riverside County’s progress in vaccinating farmworkers as a model to replicate up and down the state.
Gov. Newsom spoke with farmworkers, health vaccination staff and a number of community partners while touring the SeaView Packing plant in Coachella to see the work being done as 350 farmworkers receive the vaccine for COVID-19 through a Riverside County mobile vaccination clinic.
Greeting the Governor and speaking at the event were Riverside County Supervisor V. Manuel Perez, U.S. Representative Raul Ruiz, State Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia and Coachella Mayor Steven Hernandez, who are all proudly from Coachella and represent the region in city, county, state and federal government elected positions. They noted that the Governor’s stop in his “Vaccinate ALL 58” initiative was the first visit by a California Governor to the city.
Supervisor Perez thanked the Governor for his visit and leadership of the state through this crisis, saying: “It is a pleasure to have our Governor here, the first to ever visit the City of Coachella. The County of Riverside is honored by Governor Newsom’s visit today. Our Governor, Governor Newsom, has done an outstanding job for the State of California.”
Supervisor Perez shared that, as the area’s county supervisor and President of the Latino Caucus of California Counties, prioritizing the vaccine for farmworkers and equity in vaccine distribution are top issues that he has been working with Gov. Newsom’s administration and the kitchen cabinet to advance.
In his remarks, Gov. Newsom recognized Riverside County, the first county in the State of California to administer the vaccine for farmworkers. He said: “What this county has done, no other county in the state had done. You were first to advance the cause of equity, not as a rhetorical flair, but substantively and meaningfully.”
A few thousand farmworkers in Riverside County have been vaccinated to date.
Riverside County Public Health Director Kim Saruwatari outlined the county’s efforts, which emerged out of earlier successful drives in the pandemic to provide outreach, education, mobile testing, and now vaccines, to the farmworker community in the heavily agricultural eastern Coachella Valley region. Riverside County formed the Coachella Valley Equity Collaborative and built strong relationships with a dozen community-based organizations.
The collaborative model seeks to provide and administer vaccine doses by meeting farmworkers where they are, bringing mobile vaccination events to where they are working and making the vaccine easier to access. The county has utilized local nonprofits to provide information, bridge language gaps and build trust in the community. Gov. Newsom highlighted TODEC Legal Center for its efforts to bring “cultural competency to a whole new level.”
Gov. Newsom thanked farmers and ranchers for their partnership in holding these vaccine events at their sites and valuing their workers. He commended farmworkers and said they are “truly essential workers in the state.”
Video from today’s press conference can be found on the California Governor Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/CAgovernor.
Supervisor V. Manuel Perez represents the eastern two-thirds of Riverside County on the Riverside County Board of Supervisors. Stretching from Palm Springs and Desert Hot Springs, south to the Salton Sea and east to Blythe and the Colorado River, the 4th District is the largest geographical district in the county.
Supervisor Perez’s office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.