The United Farm Workers Foundation celebrated the 50-year anniversary of the ‘65 Delano Grape Strike at the historic Forty Acres complex on Sept. 26.
The event served as a reunion for strikers and boycotters from the 1960s. They were joined by farm worker leaders from companies under the United Farm Workers, who continued the fight to protect farm worker contracts and to maintain the cause of the movement.
The event welcomed Cesar Chavez’s wife, Helen Chavez, as well as his son Paul Chavez. Speakers included Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who joined the grape strike veterans 50 years after his father, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, joined the strikers.
Paul Chavez addressed the cheering crowd at the Forty Acres complex. “In order for change to continue to happen, we have to come together as one,” said Chavez as he ended with a chant of “Si se puede.”
Also taking the stage was UFW co-founder and labor leader Dolores Huerta. Huerta spoke about the struggle and the impact that the Delano Grape Strike had on farm workers. Huerta pressed for the continued support for the cause and walked off to a roaring cheer.
Following the program speakers was famed El Teatro Campesino and Danny Valdez, who sang songs reminiscent of the ‘65 strike. The crowd clapped and some sang along to the old songs.
The UFW continued their festivities with the honoring of the ‘65 Filipino and Latino Grape Strikers, the ‘66 Marchers from Delano to Sacramento, the ‘65-‘70 grape boycotters, and the ‘65-‘70 full-time staff, in a memorable morning for those attending.
The event ended with exhibits and a tour of the historical sites at the Forty Acres complex.
Historical sites included the Reuther Hall, which hosted union meetings at the end of the ‘60s grape strike and where table growers signed their first UFW contract back in July 29, 1970.