Friday, July 19, 2024

Latino cartoonist is using his art to encourage vaccinations

Lalo Alcaraz, author of the first nationally syndicated Latino political cartoon strip “La Cucaracha” is creating culturally relevant art for to help spread information about the COVID-19 vaccines and testing in Latino communities specially in the Southwest.

Alcaraz said, “It’s right up my alley as far as something that I believe in and that is a crisis, which is vaccine hesitancy in our community, especially among campesinos.” Two- time Pulitzer editorial cartoon finalist for the last two years who collaborated on the wildly popular animated movie, “Coco”.

Alcaraz said he was excited about the project. His recent cartoon praising the gymnastic legend Simone Biles for putting her mental health first went viral. One of his cartoons for the COVID-19 campaign re-creates Mexican loteria, which is a bingo-like game, to show the benefits of getting a vaccination. Another cartoon shows how a Latino farmworker looks he gets the shot as he holds a box of cabbages versus when he doesn’t- holding a box of the COVID virus.

The campaign was started by Gilberto Lopez, an assistant professor at Arizona State University School of Transborder Studies, whose aim was to create a bilingual website along with art to break down vaccine hesitancy among Latinos. He hopes the website, which includes animated videos in English and Spanish, debunks  myths that have spread in the Latino community.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately hit Latinos in the country, who have accounted for almost 30% of the COVID cases and nearly 20% of deaths. California, which has the nation’s largest Latino population, has seen a surge in new cases as the delta variant continues to spread primarily among the unvaccinated.

Lopez stated, “Whatever information we are putting out there, hopefully it resonates with people and hopefully starts changing people’s ideas and knowledge about the vaccine.”