Photo Essay: California Farmworker – LeRoy
Syndic Literary Journal

Photo Essay: California Farmworker – Exhausted

 
EXHAUSTED
 
Photo by Jon Lewis (c.1966)
 
This woman has worked in the fields since she was a child, this is how she supports herself. Dressed for protection from wasps and spiders and the pesticide and sulfur residues on the vines, she harvests table grapes all day in the blazing summer sun – hard physical work at any age. She looks exhausted.
 
When old age prevents her from field work, she will rely on family members and welfare for financial support. She receives no retirement or medical benefits, no unemployment, no disability, no workers compensation – she receives nothing but a life of hard physical work to eke out a living.
 
This farmworker – this working woman – has spent her life subsidizing a $3 billion dollar industry. Social justice? What meaning can these words have for farmworkers who have no labor rights and endure a life of exploitation?

 

Compiled/Published by LeRoy Chatfield
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Syndic No. 33
October 2020
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