The first few days of orientation here at the NFWM office for Blake and I were filled with educational activities, training sessions, and thought-provoking discussion about the current state of the struggle for farmworker rights. Some of the topics we learned about include:
- Cesar Chavez and the start of the farmworker movement: Formation of the UFW; The nationwide grape boycott in the late 60’s.
- Labor camp working and living conditions: Dangers of pesticide exposure; Dangers of dehydration and heat exhaustion; Abysmal living quarters.
- The current system of H2A and H2B workers and the issues that come with such programs, for example blacklisting;
- FLOC and how the NFWM partnership operates;
- Economic statistics on national as well as NC farmworkers;
- The significance of tying together communities of faith with farmworker communities
Overall, my first week was engaging, educational, and fun! I am more determined than ever to help our farmworkers attain the rights they deserve.