DELANO, California. (AP) – First Lady Ill Biden praised California agricultural workers for their persistence during the epidemic, urging them to get vaccinated during a visit to the state farm during Wednesday.
“Without the farmers who were constantly collecting our food, or the factory workers who were packing, or the grocery store clerks who were collecting our shelves, hey, we would not have made it this year,” Biden said.
He performed at Forty Acres, which was once the headquarters of the United Farm Workers and is now a vaccination site for those workers. He was joined by Governor Gavin Newsom, farmers and volunteers to celebrate the national holiday of UFW leader Cesar Chavez.
President Biden has a bust of Chavez in the Oval Office.
The site is located in the Kern region, one of the largest agricultural states in the Central Valley, which was severely affected by the epidemic. In the small town of Delano, three-quarters of the population is Latino, a demographic that has seen a disproportionate number of virus deaths in the state.
Biden urged farmers to film, citing Pope Francis’ comments that people have a moral obligation to get vaccinated.
“Each of us has his share for his family, for his family, for those we do not even know,” he said.
Agricultural workers were one of the earliest groups eligible for coronavirus vaccines, and Newsom last month introduced more doses for workers in the region. According to the state, Kern is currently the 15th most vaccinated state in California, with 283,000 doses imported.
Newsom said the vaccine site volunteers are in Chavez’s mold. “I want to greet each of you for your support of your community,” he said.
His appearance next to Biden comes after he is expected to call a possible election later this year. Biden did not mention the governor’s political position, but thanked the “key workers” and farmers for their support of the coronavirus and climate change.