Fresno County leaders raising awareness for laborers impacted by pandemic

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno County leaders and nonprofits are working together to raise awareness of farmworkers and laborers impacted amid the pandemic.

"Our communities lack those resources of tools," says Chucho Mendoza with the Central California Environmental Justice Network. "We're not going to put the blame on people. "Let's look at it from an objective eye, the lack of internet, the lack of access to technology.

He says there are roughly 1 million farmworkers in the Central Valley.

Mendoza and several organizations have been working in outreach and farmworker safety throughout the pandemic, but say there are challenges in reaching farm laborers.

"We need bigger platforms and bigger organizations and public entities," he said. "To carry on these tasks, at this point, we need public entities to build that connection."

Other organization leaders say some of the challenges farm laborers and food workers are facing are from their own leadership.

"We are hearing stories of people putting more pressure on workers to go faster because as some are not coming to work or are afraid, that leaves less workers."

The Fresno County Public Health Department and these organizations are collaborating to do what they can to serve these communities, and connecting them to stakeholders.

"With contact tracing, we're hoping to develop a method that is comfortable and familiar for folks who been exposed. That's another libel of distrust."

So far, Fresno County has more than 1,600 COVID-19 cases and 30 people who have died from the virus.
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