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The People

The people who give you their food give you their heart.

-César Chávez

The Effects of Pesticides on Kern’s People

Told by Roger Lee Terronez

Roger Lee Terronez is the son of Rodrigo Terronez, who worked alongside César Chávez as the Vice President for the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA), now the United Farm Workers (UFW). Rodrigo was killed in a tragic automobile accident in Kern County in 1967. That same year, a farm worker clinic was named after Rodrigo at the organization’s Delano field office in Forty Acres. The clinic is still a resource for farm laborers today.

Roger Lee worked in the fields for almost his entire life–originally in Corcoran and later in Delano. He now lives in Bakersfield and works closely with the UFW to fight for the rights of farm laborers. He lost many close friends and family members to the harsh conditions of field work. Although it is hard for him to talk about, he believes it is necessary to let others know how pesticides affect Kern’s people.

 

Jacky Allende: A Sense of Normalcy

How an 8-year-old girl copes with life in Kern County

Jacky Allende is an 8-year-old girl from McFarland, California. She leads a somewhat normal life considering her past. She plays soccer, makes mud pies with her friends at school, and loves Otter Pops.

When Jacky was 5 years old a gang member murdered her mother in her living room while Jacky was sleeping in the next bedroom. Shortly after, her father was deported to Mexico on drug charges. Jacky’s grandmother and legal guardian, Eugenia, now struggles to provide for her by working more than full time as a personal caretaker and a field laborer. Eugenia knows all too well the injustices that plague Kern County’s agriculture industry, but because of her circumstances she considers herself lucky to have a job.

Jacky lives with her grandmother in a single-bedroom home with very little to call her own. Despite the hardships she has had to overcome in her eight short years of life, Jacky remains positive. She enjoys math, playing with friends, and just being alive.

 

Nancy Oropeza: Fighting for a Cause

A constant struggle for justice and respect

Arvin native Nancy Oropeza started volunteering in 2006 for the United Farm Workers (UFW), the nation’s largest farm workers union, which was founded by César Chávez and Dolores Huerta. Nancy now works for the union as an organizer. She informs farm laborers of their rights, spreads awareness of important farm labor-related information to the greater community, and fights daily for the respect farm laborers deserve.

Although Nancy is not a farm laborer herself, she has seen many injustices occur in Kern County and has made it her mission to better the community.  She lives each day by the UFW’s motto: “¡Si se puede!”–“Yes, we can!”

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