portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article portland metro

labor

Walk for Farmworker Justice PHOTO update, Thursday, 21 June 2001

Photographs of the march through Woodburn today, 21 June 2001.


Shortly after leaving St. Luke's Catholic Church.


FHDC Housing. PCUN-sponsored and Farmerworker-controlled. Find out more here.


PCUN headquarters


Members of the community join in the march.

Blessed to be a blessing 25.Jun.2001 23:14

Sharon P. Troyer sptroyer@aol.com

Having been one of the fortunate participants in the entire week of walking in support of justice for farm workers, I know I will never be the same. It was a rich opportunity from which I learned so much about building community, promoting dialogue, experiencing the joys of compassion and the strength of shared suffering. Still lingering in my memory are the faces of the wonderful teenagers who shared their stories of becoming empowered through coalitions and community support to make a positive difference in the lives of their parents and in the families of generations to come. I have never heard such gratitude to families as I heard among these young people who, rather than blaming their parents for their poverty, are joining forces with agents of hope to make positive changes.

Also of great value was the way we were trained in non-violent peacekeeping both prior to and during the six day walk. The message of how to stand for justice in ways that show respect and dignity for all, (while at the same time being committed to stop the injustices that come because of greed, arrogance and ignorance), was a constant theme.

Among the outstanding events still vivid in my mind are the two worship services we shared together. Friday evening we shared the theme of coming together as to an oasis of refreshing water. Using implements that represented the farmworker, in small groups we shared dipped water from a common bucket and designed our own symbolic ritual for sharing the water. In our thirst for justice we shared with each other what things quench our thirst for meaning in life.

On our last day, after the rally on the steps of the capitol in Salem where an enthusiastic crowd listened to speakers, heard Latinos/a children sing and watched colorful Aztec dancers, we were invited inside to have our final interfaith worship. The hard rain outside failed to dampen the spirits of those who sang "We are singing for justice". Following a Jewish prayer of blessing,in small groups we shared warm tortillas to symbolize the sustenance needed to go out into our various communities to carry the message of hope for societal change.

The Walk for Farm Worker Justice will always be a part of me. Though my body was tired when it was over, the 'souls of my feet' were blessed as we walked together in the footsteps of Ghandi, Ceasar Chavez and Martin Luther King. My greatest thanks to all who planned, promoted, networked, and volunteered to make it so successful. We know this journey is far from complete and there remains much to do. But for now, I return to my work as a minister strengthed and refreshed with vigor to more fully promote communities of hope, joy, love and peace.