More Americans have died already from COVID-19 than died on 9/11. According to our health experts, an estimated 100,000 – 240,000 could die before it’s over. America is now facing the greatest threat to our nation’s health in over a century when 650,000 Americans died during the influenza that swept the world. And who are most at risk? Farmworkers, the people who are sacrificing themselves to feed America.
Millions of farmworkers are considered “essential workers” but are not entitled to “essential benefits”. They have no choice but to work because they too have to eat and provide for their families. But not the rest of America. If Americans don’t work because of the pandemic, they’re still going to get paid in some form or fashion – and always have something to eat! Why? Because farmworkers are putting their lives at risk, working every day out in the fields, so Americans can “Shelter in Place”. Farmworkers are being adversely impacted too, but our Congress could care less. Why? Because 50% are undocumented and the other half doesn’t matter.
Cesar E. Chavez, who during his time was the conscience of America, would never have let this happen and NEITHER SHOULD WE! For the love of God and out of respect for Cesar Chavez, we must contact our members of Congress and urge them, no, demand that farmworker benefits and protections be included in the 4th stimulus bill that will soon be adopted by Congress. The bill is supposed to cover gaps and fill holes left uncovered by the first three bills and that definitely should include farmworkers. This a matter of life and death.
America needs to protect farmworkers or prepare for the starvation that will come when there are no farmworkers left to harvest the crops. Healthy farmworkers means food on your table.
Cesar Chavez said, "It's ironic that those who till the soil, cultivate and harvest the fruits, vegetables, and other foods that fill your tables with abundance have nothing left for themselves."
Dr. Juan Andrade, Jr.
United States Hispanic Leadership Institute, Inc.