Politics

Farmworkers near end of 24-day ‘March for the Governor’s Signature’ urging support for bill

Quite a few state leaders have joined farmworkers during these final remaining days of the “March for the Governor’s Signature,” including Toni Atkins, president pro tempore of the state senate; Sabrina Cervantes, Latino Legislative Caucus vice chair; Eloise Reyes, assembly majority leader; and a number of assembly members, including Mark Stone, Agricultural Labor Relations Voting Choice Act author. Enthusiasm for marchers has only climbed from the start, with community members donating everything from water to shoes.

“Some 19 permanent farm worker peregrinos (pilgrims) endured the entire length of the peregrinacion, foregoing income, time with family, and the comfort and security of home to embark upon this burdensome journey—in temperatures frequently exceeding 100 degrees—that sorely taxed them physically and mentally,” UFW said. They’ve included Lourdes “Lulu” Cárdenas, an undocumented farmworker who left the peach harvest to urge Newsom to support AB 2183, which would expand the ways farmworkers can vote in their union elections.

A march of this magnitude also comes with risks and physical pain, ranging from sore feet to the threat of dehydration and heat stroke in the central valley temperatures that can go into the triple digits. On Tuesday, medical students from U.C. Davis provided aid to weary and hurting marchers:

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“Ferheen Abbasi, who’s a second-year med student, said she asked the UFW if they could provide some basic first-aid services to the marchers, saying that ‘these are the kind of doctors that we want to become,’” local affiliate KCRA reported. “The group of about 10 med students is following the route that the farmworkers will be taking for the next few days and will establish themselves at different locations to provide assistance as they near the end of their march to the state Capitol.”

“We have a lot of blister packs,” Abbasi continued in the report. “We have Epsom salt baths. We’re just trying to make sure that their feet are cared for until the very end.”

Marchers and their supporters hope their sweat, tears, and passion can convince the governor to support the legislation after vetoing a form of it last year. “What’s different this year is broadening public support for the UFW drive and sacrificial march, including solid backing by the California labor movement under its new head, Lorena Gonzalez, as well as union, religious, and community leaders, activists and organizations,” UFW said.

It really shouldn’t be taking this march to convince our lawmakers to support this sort of legislation. When farmworkers have continued to lack rights other U.S. workers have, when they have remained vulnerable to deportation, when farmworkers have died in their work feeding America, they have already given far too much.

For our Daily Kos community members in the region, click here to find out how to join farmworkers are they complete their march this week. To sponsor a farmworkers’ bus ride, click here. To make a donation via PayPal, click here.

RELATED STORIES:

Farmworker marchers receive blessing from bishops as 335-mile pilgrimage for union rights continues

Community members rush to donate water, snacks to farmworkers on 335-mile labor rights march

Farmworkers urge Newsom to sign pro-union bill: ‘Why can’t we have the same rights?’




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