January 9, 2022
  • 7:00 am Outstanding Professor Award Recipient’s Mic Drop Moment at Last Month’s Virtual Ceremony
  • 9:10 am Bookworms of the World Unite!
  • 7:46 pm Breaking News: All Students Living in Campus Housing Required to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine
  • 9:00 am CSUDH Esports Creates International Competition
  • 9:35 am Spring Commencement Ceremonies Get Brighter
  • 3:46 pm Breaking News: Spring Commencement Ceremonies Recieve Stadium Upgrade
  • 8:00 am Testing the Teachers (and All the Educators)
  • 9:30 am CSUDH Educators and School Employees, Vaccinated Next
  • 10:30 am For White People Only: Anti-Racism Workshop Addresses Racial Bias and Unity
  • 2:43 pm Greatness Personified: Remembering Kobe Bryant
  • 10:02 am Straight Down the Chimney and Into Your (Digital) Hands: Special Holiday Edition of The Bulletin!
  • 2:44 pm Did You Wake up Looking this Beautiful?
  • 11:43 am A Long History for University’s Newest Major
  • 5:15 pm Issue 5 of Bulletin Live! Collector’s Item! Worth its Weight in Digital Paper!
  • 4:06 pm Special Election Issue
  • 4:03 pm Three best Latinx Halloween & Horror Short Films available now on HBO Max
  • 9:49 am Issue 3 of CSUDH Bulletin Live if You Want It
  • 3:24 pm Hispanic Heritage Month Update
  • 2:00 pm South Bay Economic Forecast Goes Virtual
  • 3:52 pm BREAKING NEWS: Classes for Spring to be Online, CSU Chancellor Announces
  • 9:39 am “Strikes” and Solidarity
  • 8:30 am March Into History: Just 5 in 1970, CSUDH Growth Shaped by Historic Event
  • 8:30 am Will the Bulletin Make Today Tomorrow?
  • 9:04 am Different Neighborhoods Warrant Rubber Bullets or Traffic Control For Protesters
  • 5:07 pm STAFF EDITORIAL: Even Socially Distant, We All Have to Work Together
  • 5:47 pm Transcript of CSUDH President Parham’s Coronavirus Announcement
  • 10:46 am Cal State Long Beach Suspends Face-to-Face Classes; CSUDH Discussing Contingency Plans
  • 5:26 pm Things Black People Should be Able to Get Away with This Month
  • 10:25 am Latinx Students Need a Place to Call Home
  • 2:35 pm Will Time Run Out Before Funds for PEGS? [UPDATED]
  • 8:41 am Year of the Rat? What’s That?
  • 6:20 am Artist Who Gave Life to Death and Inspired Countless Others Gets His Due at Dominguez Hills
  • 5:16 pm Why I’m Rooting for Dr. Cornel West
  • 5:00 pm Under Fire from the Feds, Vaping’s Future is Cloudy
  • 3:28 pm We’re Going to Need a Bigger Boat; Tsunami 3.0 Hits Campus, Enrollment Swells
  • 4:48 pm University Weathering a Wave of New Students
  • 9:21 pm The Bulletin’s Public Records Request Offers Springboard to Launch Gender Equity Discussion at CSUDH
  • 4:27 pm Black is the New Black: Raising the Capital on the “B” Word
  • 10:53 am Guns Up for Arrest: Student advocacy group pushes for CSU No Gun Zones–Including the Police
  • 4:09 pm Staff Editorial: Words on the First
  • 8:42 pm Carson Mayor Blasts Media, Landmark Libel Case in Keynote Address
  • 9:27 am Free Speech Week Calendar of Events Update
  • 6:02 am Food for Thought: 40% of Students are Food Insecure
  • 3:12 pm Academic Senate Rejects CSU GE Task Force & Report
  • 3:06 pm Work To Be Done
  • 5:56 pm ASI Elections: What You Need to Know
  • 8:02 pm CSUDH President Parham Announces Cancer Diagnosis
  • 9:47 am CSUDH Art Professor’s 20-Year Journey Results in First Local Showing of Film
  • 9:13 pm Free Speech or Free Hate area?
  • 9:08 pm CSUDH’s Best & Brightest Shine at Student Research Day
  • 9:05 pm Academic Senate Approves Gender Equity Task Force
  • 12:37 pm When Dr. Davis speaks, Toros Pay Close Attention
  • 3:38 pm Investing in the Future: Dr. Thomas A. Parham Reflects on the Past Eight Months and Contemplates​ the University’s Future
  • 3:24 pm Green Olive to Open By End of Feb; Starbucks Not Until Fall
  • 3:20 pm Gov. Newsom’s Proposed Budget Hailed for Extensive Funding Increases
  • 3:08 pm Out of the Classroom: Labor and Community Organizing Course Aims to Teach Students How to Organize for Social Justice
  • 2:54 pm The Other Route in Professional Sports
  • 9:02 am Hail to the New Chief, CSUDH President Thomas Parham
  • 3:36 pm Career Center Holds Major/Minor Fair
  • 5:34 pm After Unexpected Delay, Undocumented Becomes More Intimate Theatrical Production
  • 1:30 pm What to Expect When You’re Expecting New Buildings
  • 2:35 am Latest News: CSUDH Returns to Online Instruction Until February.
  • 1:54 pm What is one thing that you’re grateful for this year? What is something that 2021 has taught you?
  • 1:10 pm The obstacles and achievements of first-generation students
  • 12:42 pm Seasonal Depression: The Scrooge of Mental Health
  • 12:34 pm Body Positivity: Staying Afloat During the Holidays

Agricultural workers in California’s Central Valley
Photo by Salvador Oceguera

By Salvador Oceguera
Special for the Bulletin

“Cesar Chavez to me is like an angel sent from heaven,” says Marta Velasquez,  56. “If it weren’t for him women wouldn’t have a place in agriculture. “

Velasquez is a farmworker in the Central Valley. Usually ignored, overlooked and scapegoated as the reason for so many American problems, there’s a new term for them these days: essential. While millions of Americans are confined to their homes under various stay-at-home orders, agricultural workers don’t have the luxury; they can’t afford to stay at home, and someone has to pick the crops to feed this nation.

And while Cesar Chavez Day, a federal holiday since 2013,  tends to fly under the radar for those of us on the California State University system calendar, due to March 31 usually falling during spring break, it’s a special day for most of those workers.

I should know. I’m one of them.

When I was 12, my dad moved me and the rest of my family to just outside Salinas, where he found work in  the vineyards near King City. Every summer since the eighth grade I’ve worked alongside him in those fields, pruning grapes and working machines. It was hard, honest work but I was earning money instead of spending it, and I’ve returned all four years I’ve attended CSUDH.

This year, with our transition into online teaching, summer came earlier, and since I happened to be up here on Cesar Chavez day, I figured I’d ask a few of my fellow co-workers, who range in age from 23 to 58,  what they thought of the man who the day was named for—of if they thought of him at all. Out of 14 people I asked , before my supervisor not-so-gently suggested I “knock it off and stop asking questions,” half seemed a little spooked talking when the supervisor was around; but the older ones seemed more than excited to share.

It was a timely time to ask, because COVID-19 has made these workers, who are already indispensable, critical. The high demand for agricultural products  means the typical 10-hour shift is now 12 to 13 hours. Forget about any sick or vacation pay. And a 6-foot social distance zone? We’re lucky to have 3 feet between us, and we were just offered face masks and Lysol wipes–but everyone was bringing them from home anyway. The restrooms are at least cleaner than usual.

But the conditions today are far better compared to the cruelty and poor work conditions that Francisco Alcantar, 48, has seen. He’s worked in the fields since he came to the U.S. alone as a 19-year-old. He remains grateful for what Chavez did for every farm worker, past and present.

“I saw Cesar Chavez back in Delano in 1992 one year after I got to the States,”  he said. “The working conditions here in the Central Coast were very bad, we didn’t have restrooms anywhere near the fields and we had to walk for long distances if we wanted to use them but even then we had to ask for permission to go.”

Many times, Alcantar said, they were told they could go relieve themselves, but only after finishing their row, which was usually about 100 yards long and could take up to a half hour to complete.

That is one thing that  changed over the years thanks to Chavez. Every agriculture company is now obligated to have portable restrooms for men and women in every field, thanks to the labor-turned-social movement sparked by Chavez.

Velaqsuez, the worker who told me Chavez was like an angel to her, remains committed to furthering his legacy.

Velasquez had worked 17 years in the fields and seen her share of inequalities like a gender pay gap and harassment in the workplace.

“ Because of Cesar Chavez and his efforts for equal rights alongside better work conditions I was able to report the actions I experienced with men at work,” and received compensation for it, Velasquez said.  

Her friend Eujenia Villasenor, 47, also has a special place in her heart for Chavez. Because of Chavez’ work, Villasenor says she was able to get a pay raise after her husband suffered an injury and was forced to stop working. That helped her support her family, including her three children ages 14, 16 and 19, as the lone wage-earner.

“I personally take Cesar Chavez day serious,” she said. “ I tell my kids about him all the time. I know people try to downgrade his actions and efforts in helping us farmworkers but I make sure to tell my kids about what really happened. I bring them to work in the fields on the weekends once in a while so they can  see how hard working people earn money.”

Velasquez and Villanesor are following  in Chavez’ footsteps, collecting signatures in the hopes of agricultural workers securing unemployment benefits, one of many things that are considered standard for most workers but not them. And they know that in order to obtain them, they must do the work. Because something every agricultural worker  senses, even if they don’t articulate it, is that once this pandemic relents, and things get back to something roughly resembling normal, the work they do will remain essential, but those that do it will once again revert to being invisible to everyone’s eyes but their own. 



Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: