Surya Kalra 195sc

Surya Kalra

Surya Kalra's activity stream

  • One LA Vaccinates 900 Seniors, Essential Workers in South LA

    In less than two weeks, One LA - IAF leaders launched a pilot effort to vaccinate close to 900 senior citizens and essential workers in the hard-hit South LA community around St. Brigid Catholic Church. Originally planning to vaccinate 600 people, the two-day event accommodated hundreds more who were eligible as word spread in the community.

    "The issue is vaccine access," said Jim Mangia, President and CEO of St. John's Well Child and Family Center in an interview with ABC National News. "Most people in South LA have not had access to the vaccine. There's not hesitancy- people have questions of course, but people want to get vaccinated. The issue is that there was nowhere for them to go."

    Nowhere to go, that is, until One LA leaders began organizing. After months of advocating for a more equitable vaccination campaign targeting hard-hit neighborhoods, One LA leaders secured a partnership with Supervisor Holly Mitchell and medical partner St. John's Well Child & Family Center to bring the vaccines to the neighborhood around St. Brigid Catholic Church.

    "Unfortunately, it is one of the least vaccinated areas in Los Angeles," said Fr. Kenneth Keke, Pastor of St. Brigid Catholic Church. "One in five residents have had Covid-19, and only 1 in 18 have been vaccinated. We are going to change that. We don't want anybody left behind."

    Over the course of four days, One LA leaders  went door to door, passed out flyers and called 4,000 households. The targeted approach shielded the vaccine supply from out-of-the-area "vaccine chasers," but more importantly reached people who otherwise wouldn't be able to access the vaccine at all.

    Meaghan Myrtle, a 90 year old resident of the neighborhood, had been trying for months to secure an appointment. Ms. Myrtle had no access to transportation or the internet. "This church called me back. Nobody else called me back."

    One LA leaders are now working to duplicate the pilot in other hard hit communities, and to work with LA County to add these neighborhood-based pop-ups to the many methods needed to vaccinate the whole county. 

    "A year into this pandemic, we refuse to stay at home anymore," said Phaebra Croft, a One LA leader with St. Brigid and teacher with LAUSD. "Don't let anyone try to convince you that our communities don't want this vaccine. Demand is high and will only get higher."


    Group Gives Help to Vaccine Candidates, Gordon Tokumatsu, NBC 4 (Los Angeles) [video]

    Fight for Vaccine Equity, Kaylee Hartung, ABC News (National) [video]

    A Los Angeles Pilot Program Will Vaccinate Hundreds within a 2 Mile Radius of a Catholic Church, Alejandra Molina, Religious News Service

    Hundreds of Vaccines Administered in South LA after volunteers go door to door to increase interest, John Gregory, ABC 7 (Los Angeles) [video]

    Photo credit: Rafael Paz [additional photos]

  • One LA Leaders Urge County to "Bring the Vaccine to the People."

    Video  Excerpts of Press Conference

    At a press conference on Tuesday, February 2, One LA leaders called on LA County and LA CIty to partner with churches, schools and clinics to bring the vaccine to the neighborhoods most hard-hit by COVID-19. 

    "We feel like our community is left behind in this crucial time," said Rev. Kenneth Keke, pastor of St. Brigid Catholic Church in South Central LA.

    As the vaccine rollout began, leaders began hearing hundreds of stories of seniors and essential workers unable to get the vaccine in neighborhoods where the virus is surging.

    The Covid-19 death rate for Latinos in Los Angeles County has increased by 1000% since November. Blacks, Latinos, and Asians are all more likely to die than white residents. People living in the poorest neighborhoods are more than three times as likely to die as the residents of the wealthiest neighborhoods.

    Leaders took swift action, developing a 6 point plan to close the equity gap. 

    "Our church is prepared to take a more active role," said Rev. Austin Doran, pastor at St. Anthony Catholic Church in San Gabriel. "If needed, the church could be used as a vaccination site. Residents are used to coming to our church. They know how to get here." 

    The plan calls for mobile vaccination teams that would set up temporary sites in the hardest-hit neighborhoods. Leaders from neighborhood institutions educate residents about the vaccine, as well as help people sign up for the vaccine from parking lots of parishes and other sites.

    "The hardest-hit communities can be identified through U.S. Census tracts with the highest incidents of COVID-19 and lowest rates of vaccination," said Diane Vanette, a leader with Temple Emanuel.

    “By targeting the hot spots first, we would be able to save lives and break the chain of transmission.”

    Since Tuesday, One LA leaders have heard back from county and city officials and will be meeting with them in the next week to push their strategy forward. 

    Churches in LA's Working Class Neighborhood Urge, "Bring the Vaccine to the People," Religious News Service, Alejandra Molina [pdf]

    Covid-19 Vaccines and Seniors: What it is Like for Older Adults Getting Their Shots, Wall Street Journal, Jim Carlton and Joseph de Avila [pdf]

    Biden Adminstration Charging Up Vaccination Rollout [video], NBC News, Hetty Chang


  • published One LA's 6 Point Strategy in News 2021-02-02 11:56:56 -0800

    One LA's 6 Point Strategy

    Please find a link to One LA's six point strategy for making LA County's inoculation campaign more efficient and more equitable. 

  • Faith Leaders Urge County to Vaccinate Hardest-Hit Neighborhoods

    Contact: Robert Hoo, [email protected]


    On Tuesday, February 2, 2021 at 11:30 AM via Zoom, faith and community leaders with One LA - IAF will share stories collected from hundreds of conversations with residents  in low-income neighborhoods who cannot access the COVID-19 vaccine. Leaders will also share a 6 point plan for targeting hot-spot neighborhoods to make the inoculation campaign more efficient and more equitable across LA County. 

    Faith Leaders Urge County to Focus on Hardest-Hit Neighborhoods

    At a press conference on Tuesday, February 2, 2021 at 11:30 AM, One LA - IAF will share on-the-ground stories as well as a six point plan for vaccination teams to partner with local institutions to bring the vaccines into hotspot neighborhoods, which epidemiologists have argued will reduce transmission and deaths, both in individual neighborhoods and in the county as a whole.

    In the latest surge of COVID-19 in LA County, faith leaders in low-income neighborhoods have watched their communities disproportionately bear the brunt of severe illness and deaths. 

    “The last time I gave the mass at our convent, over eighty percent of the catholic sisters there had contracted COVID-19,” said Fr. Kenneth Keke, Pastor at St. Brigid Catholic Church in South LA. “My parish is just as vulnerable- our members have told me story after story of how they can’t get to the vaccine, and it is they and their elderly family members who are suffering the most.” 

    St. Brigid Catholic Church is a member of One LA - IAF, a broad-based organization made up of 25 member institutions, including churches, synagogues, schools, clinics and nonprofits across LA County, predominantly in neighborhoods that have been hardest hit by the pandemic. These neighborhoods include Pacoima, Westlake, Pico-Union, South LA, Compton, Boyle Heights and El Monte, whose residents have been dying at rates three times higher than those in the county as a whole. 

    Since LA County began its vaccination campaign, One LA leaders have held hundreds of conversations with their members to find out who has been getting the vaccine, and who is being left behind. 

    “It makes no sense to me,” said Ortencia Ramirez, a parishioner at San Gabriel Mission and a leader with One LA - IAF. “I’m over 65 and a care-taker for my mother who is in an assisted living center. I have tried for days to get an appointment for the vaccine and had no luck with the County’s system or even my health care provider. Like me, there are hundreds of others at the Mission that have been shut out.” 

    Maps produced by LA County show staggering levels of spatial inequality. COVID-19 disproportionately impacts poor and minority neighborhoods where essential workers are forced to live in overcrowded conditions. For example, 9 people have died from Covid-19 in Brentwood, while 202 people have died in Westlake, near MacArthur Park. 

    “Our members are dying. We can’t wait for our families to get through the portals and the lines, while those with internet savvy, time and reliable transportation jump to the front of the queue,” said Fr. Arturo Corral, Pastor at Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church (La Placita) in downtown LA. “We want the county and city vaccination teams to come to us. La Placita stands ready to partner with health officials to implement a plan that targets the hardest-hit neighborhoods.” 


  • Raising a Healthy Tweenager- Resources for Parents & Educators

    Raising a Healthy Tweenager, Brochure (English)Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Association 

    Resource Page, Pedatric Nurse Practitioner Association

  • One LA IAF's Statement on the Insurrection at the U.S. Capitol

    The violent incursion at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, January 6 disrespected, demeaned, and threatened the right of every citizen who peaceably engages in the democratic process in our country.
    Deliberation, debate, argument, compromise, deal-making; these are the tools to advance our interests in a democracy.  The leaders and organizations of One LA IAF teach and practice these political skills every day.  We vigorously engage on the issues that impact our families by deliberately building the relational power needed to advance these issues with our elected officials.  We teach and practice a culture of learning, reflection and action. Our work takes the form of hundreds of conversations across lines of race, class, religion, and geography and is full of respect, dissent, concession, and sometimes victory. In other words, we MAKE DEMOCRACY WORK.
    What happened yesterday at the U.S. Capitol not only endangered, the officials, staff members and public safety officers who were present, but endangered our democratic institutions by introducing violence to what has, until now, been a tradition of a peaceful transfer of power in our national leadership. To arrive at consent at the point of a gun is the weakest form of power, and our nation was weakened on January 6 by the use of violence in place of political debate.
    As a network of religious, labor, education and community leaders from all walks of life and all political persuasions, we condemn the acts of insurrection and violence in Washington D.C., and recall the words of of the late, great Congressman John Lewis:
    "Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a national and world society at peace with itself".

  • donated 2020-12-15 18:20:35 -0800

Support OneLA-IAF