On the evening of April 23rd, 2013, I was returning to my home in rural Sonoma County with my two young children in the back of my car. I had just heard on KPFA that Cesar had passed away. I slowed to turn into my driveway but couldn’t because it was blocked by a Sonoma County Sheriff’s car. Spread eagle on the rear trunk of the car were three Mexican workers whom I recognized as my next door neighbors. One deputy was pointing his gun at them while the other searched them. Eventually the men were released and I was able to entered my home.
These men like many others in my community were laborers from primarily indigenous communities in Mexico who made the perilous journey north in search of work on farms and rural properties. Their only crime was being poor, brown and undocumented. They faced hostile acts of discrimination on a daily basis.
Shortly after this experience I traveled to Cesar’s memorial in Delano with my baby son, my companero and the radio crew from La Onda Bajita. We attended the all night vigil with 10’s of thousands of others who had traveled from all over the US, Mexico and the world to honor the legacy of this great man.
Upon my return to Sonoma County, I began organizing and working to support immigrant workers and their families in my community. Today, twenty years later I am proud to be a founding member of Centro Laboral de Graton, the first day labor center in Sonoma County and continue to advocate, support and protect the rights of all workers struggling for just, dignified and safe work.
Cesar’slegacy has always been and continues to be a great source of inspiration for me as well as a source of encouragement for times when I felt tired or fed up. Si se puede!