I first became involved with the UFW in 1968 in San Francisco. Vivian Harris (then Levine) and I were roommates and had befriended Arthur and Martha Schaffer, who were hosting Kathy and Lupe Murguia at the time. I soon found myself on picket lines at the docks and then in front of local grocery stores, armed with picket signs and leaflets. I remember our successes - I believe both Bell and Cala Markets stopped selling grapes pretty quickly - and I remember long days in front of Lucky Markets. The grape boycott became my job.
I also began dating John Shroyer, who was then heading the boycott in Oakland. The beginning of 1969, a group of us attended a UFW strategy retreat in Three Rivers (where I had the honor of meeting Cesar Chavez). There it was decided to embark on the Safeway boycott.
Also, the grape boycott was so successful on the West and East coasts that the growers began diverting their grapes to the South. I believe boycott teams were sent to five southern cities. John and I headed to New Orleans where we spent the better part of 1969 boycotting grapes, raising funds, and spreading the word about the farmworker movement.
The UFW and the boycott inspired me to continue working with unions and politics my entire life. I’m so lucky to have been shaped by one of the most meaningful movements in our history.