Close to 100 people gathered Friday afternoon near the county Public Health Department office at the corner of Magic Mountain Parkway and Valencia Boulevard to protest mask and COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
Protesters waved at passing vehicles, some of which responded with supportive honks.
Protesters also waved American flags and held handmade posters stating that wearing a face mask or getting the vaccine should be an individual choice and not mandated by the government or employers.
Dawnel Derubeis was one of the five people who organized the protest, which kicked off its first part at 11:30 a.m.
“We connected on Facebook, and I started messaging them,” she said of the four local moms who helped her organize the protest. “And we, just about a week and a half ago, jumped on a Zoom call and said, ‘Let’s do something about this.’”
That something, she said, mostly had to do with the requirement for children to wear masks while at school.
“It’s getting these masks off our children who need that social connection and those social cues (and) who need to breathe healthy air,” she said. “It’s the freedom of choice. It’s not to take anything away from anybody else. It’s not to take away the validity of anything. But the freedom of choice. That’s the country we live in.”
Dave Weber, of Castaic, was at the protest with his wife and three young kids. Weber said he decided to pulled out his oldest child from a local public school because of the mask mandate.
“We’re promoting medical. We’re opposing medical tyranny. We don’t want our kids masked up anymore,” he said, noting he enrolled his oldest in a private school that did not require face masks for students.
Acton resident Sharon Simons, a retired nurse, said she joined the protest to stand against mask wearing and in support of employees, like law enforcement, firefighters, health care workers, teachers and others, who are being mandated to receive the COVID-19 vaccine – a policy she opposes.
“I’m protesting the mandate to vaccinate everybody,” she said.
Nathan Martinez, of Santa Clarita, said mandating the COVID-19 vaccine is “not American.”
“I’ve got friends and family that are healthcare workers and they’re being forced to either take a vaccine or lose their job and that’s not a choice,” he said. “I don’t slander anybody for taking the vaccine or insisting on wearing a mask.”
The second half of the two-part protest continued Friday evening from 4 to 7 p.m.