OGHS: A New Day for Farmworkers

Lupe (loo-pay) Gonzalo understands all too well the hardscrabble life of a farmworker. She often had to wake up at 4 or 5 o’clock in the morning to travel to a farm, where she was handed a bucket and told to fill that bucket as many times as humanly possible during the day.

“That’s your job,” she said. “That’s what you’re there to do. And when you’re doing this work, sometimes you aren’t given the time to stop, take a break, to drink some water or to just gather yourself.”

While all farmworkers are subject to exploitation, women are especially vulnerable.

“For farmworker women, one of the main things that they have faced is sexual harassment and sexual violence in the workplace, which can be verbal but also physical,” Lupe said. “The women don’t really have an option of speaking out for themselves, because often if you do, you run the risk of losing your job. And if you lose that job, you’re not able to put food on your family’s table.”

But Lupe’s and thousands of farmworkers’ lives were made better, thanks to the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a worker-based human rights organization. CIW is a partner of the Presbyterian Hunger Program, a ministry supported by our gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing.

One Great Hour of Sharing’s purpose of helping neighbors in need around the world remains constant, giving us a tangible way to share God’s love — not only through the ministries of the Presbyterian Hunger Program, but also Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and Self-Development of People.

“Accompanying the CIW as they struggle to bring safety and justice to the fields where our food is grown, I believe, is a perfect way to actualize our commitment to being a Matthew 25 denomination,” said Andrew Kang Bartlett, representing the Presbyterian Hunger Program. “Farmworkers face daily hardships rooted in racism, sexism and poverty, and our solidarity with them is a clear demonstration of our beliefs.”

“For us farmworkers, the support from Presbyterians across the county has meant the world to us,” said Lupe. “It has meant that we don’t feel like we’re alone, and that we’re not just demanding dignity and human rights, but that human rights need to be guaranteed. And we’re walking the walk together. Presbyterians have fasted with us, they’ve marched with us. It has been through collective action that we’ve been able to demand together a new day for farmworkers.”

It’s a new day, because we are the Church, together. And when we all do a little, it adds up to a lot.


Let us pray~

We pray to you for justice, O God — justice for all who struggle to feed their families, maintain shelter and strengthen their lives. May our gifts and prayers join with our partners in faith to bring about the just world you desire. Amen

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