Ernesto Galarza 'a man of conviction and action'

Ernest Galarza was born on August 15, 1905 in Jalcocotan, Nayarit, Mexico. During that period of time the Mexican Revolution was occurring in which they will take younger boys to participate in it, but Galarza's mom did not agree with it so she decided to migrate to the United States with her son and her brothers to avoid the revolution and so that Ernesto wouldn't to be taken away. When they settled to Sacramento, California the only jobs available for them were as field workers. His mom also decide to enroll him in the school nearby but it was a little hard for Ernesto Galarza to accommodate to a new culture so when he was introduced to the school he felt so much better because he saw that everyone was just like him. "He was brown like us, a plump kid with shiny black hair comb straight back, neat, cool, and faintly obnoxious." -Galarza . He became a spokesperson for the rest of the field workers at the age of eight due to he was the only one who spoke English at the time and later on he realized the unfair treatment and wages that they were receiving.

One of Ernesto Galarza's goal was to simply improve working conditions for the working class latinos but in order to achieve this he had to prepare in a educational way and do research to get his voice heard. One of Galarza's first project was being in the Pan American Union during the 1940s where he was appointed chief. During his residence with the Pan American Union, he wrote numerous reports on various aspects of Latin America. He then resigned couple years later because the U.S State Government was influencing the Bolivian government not to sign laws which will benefit the Bolivian tin workers as in better wages and working conditions.

Bolivian Tin Workers

While still being in the Pan American Union his was also interested in Mexican farm workers that were in the USA. Most of the workers were under the Bracero Program which exploited them so that the U.S. will benefit from the agribusiness. The conditions that these braceros were in, were very terrible because most braceros were in camps and were isolated from everyone else. Galarza had to go out and look for these braceros and let them know about the strikes and convinced them to boycott and go on strikes.

These issues were very important or Galarza because his whole goal was to be able to help farmworkers receive better working conditions and better wages. A famous strike that he participated was the DiGiorgio strike of 1970 which was part of a task when he was part of the National Farm Labor Union. DiGiorgio was a big fruit growing corporation, bif the water that was running through the crop what were being handle by the field workers was dirty. This is what made Galarza go and tell the farm workers to stop cultivating the crops and to just boycott.

In 1964 he completed Merchants of Labor, where he moved to LA to worked for one year as an Economic and Opportunity Agency officer. This was another way he helped the Latino Community and the Chicano movement because it showed his focus and organizing efforts on the Mexican urban working-class population for the remainder of his life.

Not only was Galarza an activist leader but he also became an author, he wrote many books about the farm labor. He authored Spiders in the House and Workers in the Field (1970), Barrio Boy (1971), Mexican Americans in the Southwest (1969), and Farmworkers and Agribusiness (1977), all these books have a different meaning behind it. For example "Barrio Boy" is mainly about his life and how he felt from transitioning from one country to another. Galarza mentions two reasons why he wrote this book and he mention how there's a " historical and one psychological". The historical reason is that he acknowledges the importance of his experience historically, since many families have migrated from small Mexican villages and landed in the United States. The psychological side is the author's desire to communicate his confidence in his self-image as a Mexican immigrant..

Mr. Ernesto Galarza, died in 1984 but all his hard work and sacrifice that he put in so that the farm workers would have 'equal rights' still continues to this day. He inspire many to continue the strikes and the boycotts like, Cesar Chavez who was another farm labor activist that also fought for appropriate wages and working conditions for the farm workers. Galarza changed the perspective of many regarding the farm workers because he went through the discrimination himself when he had first settled in California and this is what made other realize and consider their rights.


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