I want to preface the story by saying that I lived and went to college in Fresno. I became a social worker with the welfare department there and among my clients was an elderly woman who had worked as a farm worker. I met her at her “home”, a large tent in a camp where she had a metal spring bed and a pot-belly stove that was belching black smoke. She had no indoor plumbing or running water in her home. Everything inside was darkened by the smoke residue, including her.
Because of my experiences, when the farm workers union organized around the grape boycott, I was ready to help. By then I was living in Los Angeles. I walked picket lines, turning shoppers away from the local Safeway Market. I also attended marches and my son grew up not even knowing what a grape was! This was a real sacrifice for me because grapes were one of my favorite fruits. Even after the first contracts were signed, I hesitated to buy and eat grapes for fear the farmers would renege. I was so invested in La Causa, I even used my loom to weave a small UFW banner. To this day, I pause before buying grapes.
As I’ve gotten older, I no longer participate in physical actions, but I continue to follow what’s going on and contribute as much as possible.