This Thanksgiving Day marks the 50th Anniversary of Edward Murrow’s haunting documentary Harvest of Shame. For the first time, Americans across the country were literally and visually digesting the fruits and vegetables of an unjust labor system. Murrow’s images captured dilapidated migrant farmworker housing and slave-like working conditions in the fields. Despite Murrow’s moving documentary, very little has changed for today’s farmworkers and their families. The majority still labor in the same conditions as those farmworkers did 50 years ago. However, farmworker children and youth are the ones suffering the greatest. Not only does life in the fields force them to endure continuously harsh conditions in labor and housing, it also dampens their educational opportunities.
While savoring your sweet potato casserole at dinner this Thanksgiving, please take a moment to be mindful of the sacrifices made by farmworker youth so you can enjoy that meal. That youth must harvest two tons of sweet potatoes to earn just $50, risking their health and education in the process. I urge you to take action to end child farmworker injustices by contacting your local representative or by finding more information at www.afop.org , www.ncfield.org , or www.harvestofdignity.org. We must lend our voice in support of child farmworker rights. All children and youth deserve to be valued and protected equally.