American Farm Workers Receive Hispanic Heritage Heroes Award

Photo courtesy of the 360mag.com Belatina, Latinx
Photo courtesy of the 360mag.com

The Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) has announced the recognition of all farmworkers in the United States, who will receive the Heroes Award during the 33rd Annual Hispanic Heritage Awards.

The ceremony will be broadcasted on October 6th, presented by Target, and through PBS stations and on PBS.org streaming, the foundation explained in a press release.

Along with Puerto Rican social activist Bad Bunny, who will receive the Vision Award, the nearly 3 million farmworkers, mostly Hispanic, will be recognized for their tireless work before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is with tremendous gratitude, pride, and admiration that we honor farmworkers with the Heroes Award this year,” said Antonio Tijerino, president, and CEO of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation. “Every single time we take a bite of food, we should think about the importance of our farmworkers in our lives, especially during the COVID-19 crisis as they put themselves and their families at risk to nobly nourish our families.  Their service is nothing short of heroic.”

Often overlooked and stigmatized by their immigration status, farmworkers have been responsible for feeding American families for decades, exposing themselves to chemical contamination, poor working conditions, and, in recent months, the indiscriminate spread of one of the worst pandemics in the nation’s history.

“Farmworkers have always been at risk of illness and harm, but that risk has increased exponentially with COVID-19,” said Monica Ramirez, President of Justice for Migrant Women and one of last year’s Hispanic Heritage Award Honorees for Leadership who is helping to produce the farmworkers’ Awards segment. “Their work conditions make it nearly impossible for farmworkers to be able to abide by the social distancing, handwashing, and other requirements that health care professionals say are necessary to prevent the transmission of the illness. Farmworkers deserve this prestigious recognition along with respect and appreciation for feeding us every day.”

Similarly, over the past several months, non-profit organizations and academic research have exposed the economic impact that farmworkers have on the nation’s economy and the paradox of being frequently displaced from aid packages during the pandemic.

A UCLA study released in July determined that the exclusion of farmworkers and their families from stimulus payments during the pandemic by the federal government “resulted in a $10 billion loss” in potential economic output.

The research also found that the Trump government’s refusal to help citizens it considers “illegal” cost 82,000 jobs nationally, 17,000 in California alone.

However, the Hispanic Heritage Awards, created by the White House in 1987 to commemorate the establishment of Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States, is an important first step in fairly recognizing the dedicated essential workers in the country.