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Syndic Literary Journal

Photo Essay: California Farmworker – Born Into Migrant Poverty


Photo by Jon Lewis (c.1966)

As much as I hope these eyes would one day belong to a teacher, nurse, librarian or attorney, my experience –and the odds stacked against her– tells me otherwise.

This girl, born into farmworker poverty, moving with her family from labor camp to labor camp, is unlikely to escape a life of impoverishment.

She has been born into a working family segregated from other industries and excluded by Congress from the protections of any national labor legislation. Her parents will never achieve or experience economic stability, and what educational opportunities will she have? Not many.

Hope springs eternal, but I have witnessed too much migrant worker poverty to overcome my pessimism.

Social injustice – an integral component of agribusiness, California’s largest industry – wreaks such hardship and human suffering on the innocent that “we shall overcome” is not a battle cry, but a plea for help.


Compiled/Published by LeRoy Chatfield
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