This past weekend, community members, activists, and artists in California’s central coast led a caravan of cars past Watsonville’s farming fields to thank farm laborers for their essential work during the novel coronavirus pandemic. Some advocates honked, others held up signs with messages of support, but all wanted to acknowledge and honor the workers who are helping feed America.
”Next time you see someone in the farms, working like this in the ranches, in the campos, honk your horn, honk your horn, let them know you are so thankful for them because without them, no hay vida—without them, there’s no life,” one of the advocates said in a video by filmmaker Gabriel Medina. “They’re out here working every day no matter what, and nobody gives them the thanks that they deserve.”
In a Facebook post, Medina wrote that millions of farm workers, including those without legal status, “are putting their lives on the line to ensure that America is being fed during these dark and confusing times.” But, not only are they continuing to work at added risk to their health, the Trump administration is seeking to slash wages for some. “Let's show our gratitude for those who are constantly being overlooked, underpaid, and underappreciated,” Medina continued.
“We just want to let you know that we’ve been doing this caravan to thank our essential workers,” another advocate said in Medina’s video. “We’re specifically thanking the farm workers because I think it’s important for our community to recognize their hard work, and that they’re putting their health at risk every day to put food on our table, and just inviting everyone to thank an essential worker, because they are risking their lives for us, and we have to be ready to support them.”
“Researchers and advocates estimate between 60% and 75% of California’s more than 400,000 agricultural workers are undocumented,” The Guardian reports, and because they lack legal status, are shut out of federal pandemic relief. What a way to treat workers who have been deemed essential by that same federal government. “Farmworkers/campesinos are essential to this country,” Medina continued in his Facebook post, encouraging everyone to lift up organizations that support farm workers. “Let's show them our love y'all.”