National Farmworker Awareness Week 2012

This week, March 25 – 31, is being recognized as National Farmworker Awareness Week.  Farmworker advocates across the country remind our country that farmworkers remain one of our hardest working and most underpaid workforce.

The highlight of this week’s events must be the induction of the Pioneers of the Farm Worker Movement into the Labor Hall of Honor in Washington, D.C.  Established in 1988, the Hall of Honor showcases those Americans whose distinctive contributions in the field of labor have elevated working conditions, wages, and over-all quality of life of America’s workers and their families and communities.

Yesterday, March 26, Department of Labor Secretary Hilda, a Bracero daughter, presided over this year’s induction ceremony.  During her speech she outlined the history of advocacy and struggle for fair wages and working conditions, beginning with the organizers of the Colored Farmers Alliance (1900) to the Southern Tenants Farmers Union (1930s) to the United Farm Workers of America (1960s) and many, many other organizations active to this day.

An online search of National Farmworker Awareness Week leads to the Student Action With Farmworkers (SAF), an organization which traces its history to the 1970s and Duke University.  SAF incorporated as a nonprofit in 1992. Since then, it has directly impacted thousands of farmworkers, students and community members in North Carolina and the whole country.

Because we all eat, we should all stop and reflect on what it takes to get food to our tables.  To go further, SAF suggests activities which can take place in communities or campuses, including screening a farmwork-related film for discussion, inviting a panel of farmworkers to speak to your group, or posting factsheets in conspicuous locations.

For those on social media, a very fun idea is actually quite simple: post a photo of yourself holding a sign that states why you support farmworkers with your name, city, and state.  My blurry picture is below.

Information about Labor’s Hall of Honor and Secretary Solis’ induction speech can be found here.  Information about SAF and its work can be found here.

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