YUMA   




YUMA


Yuma is where Cesar Chavez was born in 1927 and just ten miles from where he died in 1993. I spent a day in the Yuma area with Chayito Sanchez, an outreach worker promoting farmworker health.

She too had worked the fields and now educates others about their rights; I couldn't help but compare this strong woman to Chavez.

She told me that her organization is the only one in Yuma that "works outside in the fields."

Thanks to Chayito, I was able to spend all morning on a huge melon-harvesting machine with two-dozen workers. They couldn't have been more welcoming to me, but their smiles hid much pain.

Chayito told me that there are pregnant women and injured men working the fields today because they're afraid of losing their jobs if they take a break. "We come as workers and we're treated as criminals."

The Yuma area is home to 45,000 farmworkers today. These people aren't in some foreign country; they're woven into the very fabric of our American agriculture.