Posted in Breaking News, farm workers, migrant workers

Farmworkers work the fields in California’s Central Coast area while toxic smoke fills the air and raging fires surround them

This photo in my Twitter feed caught my attention. Farmworkers working the fields in California’s Central Coast region while toxic smoke filled the air and raging fires surrounded the area.

Photo courtesy:

CAUSE is a nonprofit organization that helps immigrants and farmworkers in California’s Central Coast region. Six days ago, members of CAUSE arrived at the fields to hand out masks to the workers. They needed masks to help filter out the smoke.


Handing out N95 masks with @MICOP805 to farmworkers working during the #Hillfire Please help out by donating to 805undocufund, to aid farmworkers that lose time off work and are often unable to apply for federal assistance because of immigration status.

Were the farmworkers forced to stay by the growers or did they choose to stay because they would lose pay for the day? I don’t know the answer yet, but I have asked CAUSE to give me some background.  I’ve been told the farmworkers are still out there today working the fields and conditions are not better.

Photo courtesy: CauseOxnard

In one photo, you can see they pick artichokes for Ocean Mist Farms. I’ve sent Ocean Mist a tweet and Facebook message to find out who made the decision to keep the workers out in the fields under these conditions. I’ll let you know if and when the company responds.

Here’s more about CAUSE and its mission:

CAUSE’s mission is to build grassroots power to invoke social, economic and environmental justice for the people of California’s Central Coast Region through policy research, leadership development, organizing, and advocacy. CAUSE defines the Central Coast Region as the counties of Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito.

Meanwhile, CAUSE is working with MICOP , also known as The Mixteco/Indígena Community Organizing Project. Both organizations are helping raise money for the farmworkers. The 805 Undocufund Donations will help immigrant families who are not covered by the federal government for disaster aid. Here’s more:

The 805 UndocuFund is a joint effort of immigrant-serving organizations in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties to provide disaster relief to local immigrant families who are excluded from federal aid programs like FEMA and Disaster Unemployment Assistance. Many immigrant families were affected including loss of homes and essential belongings with the destruction of farmworker housing and apartments, lost jobs as the houses where they cleaned, gardened, cooked, or cared for children were evacuated or destroyed, and lost wages as the only freeway between Ventura and Santa Barbara was severed by mudslides and outdoor air quality was hazardous for outdoor workers like farmworkers, landscapers and day laborers.


If you’re interested in donating please head over to 805 UNDOCUFUND DONATIONS.

Screenshot: Instagram 
Posted in farm workers

Happy Birthday Cesar Chavez

Graphic Courtesy: National Museum of American History
Graphic Courtesy: National Museum of American History

Today is the birthday of Cesar Chavez. Most Latinos I meet know the Chavez legacy, but it’s amazing how many non-Latinos I meet who don’t know anything about this labor leader.

I was fortunate to meet him when I was a child and then again as a reporter in Phoenix, Arizona. When he died in 1993, I was put on the story too. At the time I was working in Los Angeles at KNBC-TV.

Chavez inspired my parents in the 1960’s when they fought for union rights, equal rights and the rights of migrant workers in Ohio.

Here’s a short documentary on Cesar Chavez. A man who committed his life to improve the lives of others.



More facts on Cesar Chavez on Biography/Chavez