San Francisco gives back to farm workers in honor of Cesar Chavez Day

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Migrant workers in California continue to suffer through the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

So, a group of organizers in San Francisco's Mission District decided to celebrate Cesar Chavez Day by giving back to those who pick our foods.

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There are many ways to celebrate the positive impact labor leader Cesar Chavez has had on our society.

On this day, we are reminded of his non-violence stance while fighting with words and actions for the rights of migrant workers.

"They don't have any savings, so you get COVID, all of a sudden and you have to shelter in place, you can't go to work and that means you are not earning money," said Roberto Hernandez, the founder of The Mission Food Hub.

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Hernandez is remembering the past to imagine a better future. That's how the idea of giving food back to farmworkers in the Central Valley started. The Mission Food Hub already helps feed 7,000 to 9,000 families a week in its neighborhood and surrounding ones.

"Everything we collect today, we are going to caravan up to the farmworkers and we're taking prepared meals as well as boxes and shelf-stable stuff," explained Amanda Nelson, also of The Mission Food Hub.

Chavez and Dolores Huerta created the National Farm Workers Association in the 60s to stop the exploitation of farmworkers. By striking, they forced the boycott of grapes across the country to shed light on the racial and economic discrimination of these workers.
In the end, Chavez and his supporters got what they wanted for many farmworkers, higher wages, benefits and for many families, it was a powerful lesson in social justice.

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Hernandez was only 12 when he was sent to work in the Central Valley. The strike was still on going. That's when he met Chavez and Huerta.

"They fed my heart, my spirit, my soul, my mind, and it really was the beginning of shaping me to be an organizer, an activist and to speak out," he added.

Perhaps Chavez will be best remembered for harvesting hope in California's underserved communities.

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