Tony Nguyen, Solidaridad intern
All of life is connected. That is what I will take with me after I finish my time here with SAF. Human beings, farm work, workers’ rights, land, land ownership, sustainability, and ethicality—it’s all connected.
I came into SAF with a background in sustainable agriculture and Christian ethics. I already knew in many respects that farming was a deeply ethical issue. But I was surprised to find out just exactly what kind of ethics SAF was dealing with. We were not talking about ethics and sustainable agriculture in terms of carbon emissions or water pollution (although those are very issues in their own rights). We were talking about basic human rights.
We were talking about getting people living wages. We were talking about getting people clean water and access to basic health care. We were talking about making a way for people (farmworkers) to actually be seen, heard, and valued in the eyes of the American public. Yes, to all the ecological and “green” issues that so often get the spotlight in our contemporary politics. But also, yes to the actual human beings by whom many of us Americans are able to eat and have our beings.
And saying yes to these people takes a lot of work, and from a lot of people. It takes governments at all levels of our body politic to make, shape, and enact legislation that upholds the human dignity of farmworkers. It takes activists, lobbyists, and other organizing-advocacy groups to stoke the heart of our governments as well our local communities towards action with compassion for farmworkers. It takes all peoples of all communities to undergo a radical change of social values in order that farmworkers may actually be seen and treated as actual human beings.
If nothing else, this is the one truth I will take with me hereafter—that all of life is connected. All peoples are connected. All creatures are connected. And we are all better when we are together. Life is better when people join together.