Marching side by side with mushroom, strawberry and grape pickers, and others that toil in the hard soil and hot California sun, made a profound impression on SEIU 721 member and retired registered nurse Rosie Martinez this past week.
“This experience has changed my life,” said Martinez. “I have always supported farm workers, but now I have a profound understanding of their life and struggles. Walking side by side, caring for their sore and blistered feet, providing them medical help so they can continue their march, all their effort to make a difference in their own struggle has left me humble to have been a part of the experience.”
The 13 day, 200 mile march, which started as a protest against Gov. Brown’s veto of the Fair Treatment for Farm Workers Act bill, culminated with a rally at the state capitol, where organizers celebrated a compromise agreement that will strengthen the Agricultural Labor Relations Act. The full legislation will vote on the bill before the end of session this Friday.
“I have so much respect for these workers and I am proud that I was able to give them some comfort,” Martinez said. “They were full of blisters but they refused to stop. I learned so much from them. They were able to stand up to their own physical adversity and continue to march. I am willing to fight the good fight on behalf of them if they need me.”
Martinez and over 3,000 other marchers were joined by about 30 SEIU 721 members who boarded a bus from Los Angeles and participated in the final day of the march.
from the week
Sacramento Bee Video
Los Angeles Examiner
Ventura County Star
California Progress Report
Merced Sun Star