America has made progress in the civil rights movement. On Sept. 26, Delano Huelgistas, United Farm Workers and supporters took time to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Delano Grape Strike. The U.S. civil rights milestone also served as a reminder that the struggle continues, and work remains to achieve equality for all.
The Delano Grape Strike began on Sept. 8, 1965, when the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee, mostly composed of Filipino farm workers, stopped working in Delano, Calif., to protest their low pay and demand wages equal to the federal minimum wage. The Mexican-American-dominated National Farmworkers Association, led by Cesar Chavez, joined the strikers a week later. The two groups merged and formed the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee in August 1966. The strike lasted more than five years and led to these growers’ first contract.
In 1972, the UFWOC joined the AFL-CIO and changed its name to the United Farm Workers Union. In 1973, the name was changed to the United Farm Workers of America (UFW).
The Delano Grape Strike was a big win for United Farm Workers. The organization celebrated the milestone at Forty Acres in Delano. Forty Acres was the workplace of Chavez during the strike and was made a national landmark in 2008.
Marichel Mejia from the United Farm Workers Foundation told the 50th anniversary story with Evrybit.
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Photo by Joel Levine