NFWM’s Christy Lafferty & Lucy Boutte join Maria’s uncle, Doroteo Jimenez (center) and others in the vigil on May 14, 2009 to honor Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez, who died of heatstroke last year while laboring in a San Joaquin Valley vineyard under nearly triple digit temperatures. Photo by Jocelyn Sherman/UFW.
Each year, many farm workers are denied water, rest, and shade by their employers as they work for hours under the hot summer sun, despite laws in California to protect farm workers from these very violations. Last summer alone, 6 farm workers lost their lives. NFWM and the United Farm Workers held prayer vigils throughout this summer in Los Angeles to honor the lives of 15 farm workers who have died heat-related deaths since 2004.
Many congregations and faith communities joined us to honor these farm workers’ lives and ask that change occur in the fields and not one more life be lost. (Click here to see a slideshow of pictures from the vigils!) The vigils were held on the anniversaries of the 15 workers’ deaths at the Los Angeles Wholesale Produce Market on Olympic Blvd. A large, interfaith vigil and action was held on Tuesday, July 28th and with this event people of faith and farm worker supporters called for justice for farm workers.
Fr. Richard Estrada (with megaphone) and members of Our Lady of Angels Catholic Church in Los Angeles celebrate the life of Jose Macarena Hernandez at a prayer vigil on June 19th, 2009.