Cartoonist using artwork to inform Valley Latino community on COVID-19 vaccine

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Dia de Los Muertos altars at the Merced Multicultural Art Center are part of a deep-rooted Latino tradition.

It's art that celebrates the lives of those who have passed.


Today, it shares its space with an exhibit that hopes to save lives.

"The pandemic showed us we are all connected," said cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz. "You are not alone, you are not an island, you have to help your family, help your neighbors, you have to help your co-workers."

Alcaraz is using humor to dispel myths about the COVID-19 vaccine among the Latino community.

The campaign for CovidLatino.org is a partnership with Merced's Cultiva La Salud, UC Merced and Arizona State University.

"ASU conducted 4,000 surveys and the common themes we kept hearing were the messages we see in the artwork," said Claudia Corchado with Cultiva La Salud. "Lack of knowledge leads to fear."


The cartoons use cultural icons, like the popular Loteria game, to battle the fear, misinformation and mistrust that keep many Latinos from getting vaccinated.

"He has done a great job in using the data, and making sure that all the art that we're using and giving back to the community is data-informed and has used rigorous methodology and social sciences," said Dr. Gilbert Lopez with Arizona State University.

Alcaraz says his intention is not to mock the unvaccinated through his cartoon skits but to make them see they are not alone in feeling scared or hesitant.

"I want people to think 'I am not crazy.' There are other people that think the same way that you do and look -- here it is! And maybe I drew their family and it just resonates with them and they apply it to their life."

The exhibit will be on display at Merced Multicultural Art Center will through the end of the year.
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