Nearly two dozen Jet Propulsion Laboratory employees, friends and supporters gathered at the intersection of Oak Grove Drive and Foothill Boulevard just outside JPL headquarters Monday to protest JPL’s adherence to a federal mandate for the vaccination of all its employees by December 8.
Taylor Ingram, an organizer for the group and business administrator at JPL , said, “We’re here to fight against the vaccine mandate for federal employees and contractors, as well as any business that is enforcing (the mandate).”
Ingram, who has worked at JPL for nine years, said she has been working at home since the onset of the pandemic, and has not been asked to return to the JPL site to work.
She added that the reaction from her JPL colleagues has “not been kind. We have many people who think what we are doing is wrong. We have many people who think that we are out to cause harm to them. We’re just here asking for the same freedom of choice that they have been given, and we are asking for the freedom to keep our jobs, and providing for ourselves and our families.”
Ingram added that there are no circumstances that would change her mind about being vaccinated.
The group held a number of different anti-vaccination signs reading from “Vaccines Kill,” to “Real Facts, Not Fear.” Ingram pointed out that the range of protesters ranged from vaccinated to unvaccinated, and included both Democrats and Republicans.
A protester was spotted wearing a Bernie Sanders t-shirt, while several chants of “Let’s Go, Brandon,” an anti-President Biden slur, were heard throughout the morning. At another point, protesters shouted, “We support gay rights! Gay is awesome!”
At least one protester was masked.
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Digital News and Media Manager Veronica McGregor said in an email that “JPL is a federally-funded research and development center for NASA. As such, the White House vaccination mandate for federal agency employees and contractors (Executive Order 14042) applies to the JPL workforce. Effective Dec. 8, 2021, vaccination will be a condition of employment for employees and a requirement for badged affiliates and contractors working for JPL.”