More than 200 farmworkers signed a petition calling on the North Carolina Growers Association (NCGA) to protect the health and lives of farmworkers in the state. This is due to the death of at least five farm workers in North Carolina so far this year 2023.
One of them is Jose Arturo Gonzalez Mendoza, who died in early September from suspected dehydration while harvesting sweet potatoes at Barnes Farming & Farm Pak. A farm located in Spring Hope, North Carolina.
The document, sent on Friday, Nov. 3 by the organization El Futuro es Nuestro, demands that the NCGA conduct a thorough investigation into Gonzalez Mendoza’s death and punish all those involved for negligence.
“We ask that the NCGA heed our requests to reduce and eliminate the death rate of our fellow workers who only seek to provide for themselves and their families,” said Eli Porras Carmona, vice president of El Futuro es Nuestro, at a vigil held Nov. 3 in Raleigh.
The event, organized by Farmworker Advocacy Network, El Futuro es Nuestro, Casa Azul de Wilson and NC Field, took place on November 3, the same week as the observance of Dia de los Muertos, a holiday honoring the departed and holy saints.
“He comes with the hope of earning a livelihood and returns dead.”
Porras Carmona, told Enlace Latino NC that they expect the NCGA to respond and take action to what is requested in the petition.
“The distance is very great, the worker leaves their comfort circle of their country and risks coming to work without knowing how they are going to be treated,” he mentioned. “He comes with the hope of earning a livelihood and returns dead. This is what can happen to us as workers,” he added.
“As a worker, Porras Carmona, commented that the situation” is still the same as it was 8 or 10 years ago, only now there are media outlets that bring to light what is happening, they give faith and testimony of everything.”
“As workers we are very grateful,” he told Enlace Latino NC.
The vice president of El Futuro es Nuestro, also highlighted that during the agricultural season not only deaths are registered among the workers, but also illnesses, people who are crippled for life because of the heat and the hard work they have.
“They send them back to Mexico, the rumba continues, and let another worker come.”Continue reading this article