Advocating for Farm Workers

Posted by Spalding Hurst

March 6, 2024

Felix Garza, SCNA, (pictured at the right above) reflects on his extensive experience with farm workers, highlighting the challenges they face, including wage theft, exposure to harsh weather, and poor living conditions. Garza’s background as a former farm worker and his bilingual abilities have enabled him to bridge communication gaps between farm workers and English-speaking advocates. He notes the isolation and neglect felt by farm workers yet also acknowledges the positive impact of successful advocacy efforts, including improved contracts and legislation, often credited to the support of religious communities and consumers.

Farm Workers are vulnerable to wage theft, exposure to extreme weather conditions, often subjected to unsanitary living conditions and many other dehumanizing experiences. Volunteering to accompany farm workers as they struggle to improve their living and working conditions has been an inspirational and fulfilling lifelong journey. I have been fortunate to have had the experience of working alongside my parents as a farm worker through my youth and college years. Having that experience and being fully bilingual in English and Spanish has provided me an opportunity to help farm workers communicate their concerns to the English-speaking people of faith who want to understand and advocate on their behalf. I have often been told by farm workers we meet that they did not think anyone cared about their lives. They express their feelings of isolation and being abandoned to defend themselves in rural agricultural lands across the US, far from the view of consumers of the products they help produce. When campaign victories have been achieved through equitable-centered work contracts and protective legislation, they express their gratitude for the solidarity and attribute their success in large part to the support received by religious communities and consumers across the US.

1 Comment

  1. Julie Driscoll

    Felix, we SCNs are grateful that you can uniquely convey to farmworkers who have so many needs our genuine care, prayer and actions you may point out.

    Reply

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