SACRAMENTO — The California Senate on Thursday, April 29 unanimously approved state Sen. Ben Hueso’s bill to designate Aug. 26 of each year as “California Farmworker Day.”
“Despite the undeniable and innumerable benefits that farmworkers’ provide our state, their labor often goes unrecognized,” stated Hueso, D-San Diego, in a press release. “Farmworkers are absolutely vital to California, and to our entire world. It’s beyond time we memorialize our gratitude with an annual day of recognition.”
Senate Bill 721 is sponsored by the Dolores Huerta Foundation and would codify the Legislature’s intent to honor the endless contributions of farmworkers to the state, as well as require the Governor to annually proclaim Aug. 26 as California Farmworker Day.
California is the top agricultural producing state in the U.S., bringing in more than $50 billion from agricultural products in 2019, and producing more than 13 percent of the United States’ agricultural value. The state produces more than 400 different commodities, including two-thirds of all fruits and nuts in the nation and more than a one-third of all vegetables. These agricultural commodities are exported globally. Of the more than 3 million farmworkers in the United States, more than half a million work in California.
“The COVID virus has been a historical defining moment for the magnitude of the essentiality of farmworkers,” Marco Cesar Lizarraga of La Cooperativa Campesina de California stated in the press release. “The inequities we see in California’s farmworker communities highlight how farmworkers are often unrecognized. By establishing a day out of the year to highlight their contributions, we can begin to have the conversations we need to erase these inequities. This is the time to do that.”
SB 721 is coauthored by a strong, bipartisan group of legislators: Sens. Archuleta, Caballero, Durazo, Gonzalez, Hurtado, Jones, Melendez, Nielsen, and Rubio; and Assembly Members Cristina Garcia, Lorena Gonzalez, Salas, and Santiago. The legislation now moves to the Assembly for consideration.