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A Thanksgiving Note
|November 23, 2011|
In This Issue
Our Thoughts on Thanksgiving
At this Thanksgiving holiday, I want to share with you all a statement from one of our board members.
The life of a farm worker is constant sacrifice: sacrifice of individual dreams, aspirations and hopes in order to make it through the day. These members of our community sacrifice comfort for survival but work hard so that they don’t sacrifice their dignity.
In the early years of the 1900’s California farms relied on the working hands of Chinese and Japanese laborers. Soon, laws were enacted that prohibited the hiring and transportation of Asian workers, in response to anti-immigrant sentiment among the mainstream. Without these laws, the life of a farm worker was already condemning. Workers had left home and family turned away from their culture and soon forgot the very soil and land they had known by heart. Upon arrival, they took on an undesirable job in an unfamiliar country. Despite these hurdles, the work got done, the food was harvested and the country was fed. The sacrifice that went into each bucket of apples or basket of strawberries was never acknowledged. The toll of blood, sweat and memories from every harvest was also extracted from the souls of hundreds of thousands of workers. In the century since that era, farm workers have continued to sacrifice for our benefit. They are still harassed as outsiders. Yet through their work they hold on to the value of their own dignity. My hope is that all Californians honor that dignity.
Rural California is home for most farm workers in America. Children are raised here and first opportunities of that new generation are centered here. But, how far can these children go on hope alone? Where will they be if their mothers die in the fields from heat stroke? How much more can farm workers sacrifice? Especially if they are being singled out as illegitimate residents: illegal aliens.
CIRS has been assisting rural California and its people for over 30 years. We deliver the true stories, happening in your backyard. These stories are shaping the future of the state and the hopes of all people who share the idea that we are all the same.
Please donate to CIRS so that we can continue our important work in rural California.
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