Labor leader to discuss Latino immigrant workers

Baldemar Velasquez, president and founder of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) and the Farm Worker Network for Economic and Environmental Justice, will discuss “Latino Immigrant Workers, a Call for a New Civil Rights Movement” at Bates College May 17 at 4 p.m. in Chase Hall Lounge. The public is invited to attend free of charge.

At the age of 20, Velasquez, along with his father and other farm workers, established FLOC in 1967. The group works to improve the working and living conditions of migrant farm workers and their families. It also supports educational projects, a legal clinic and cooperatives for food and fuel. The efforts of the group led to the formation of independent commissions in the United States and Mexico to negotiate with farmers and produce companies for the rights of farm workers. The Farm Worker Network for Economic and Environmental Justice, also established by Velasquez, works on an international level to increase collaboration between U.S. and farm worker organizations abroad.

Velasquez’s contributions to the farm worker movement have been recognized by many groups including the National Hispanic Organization, the National Council of La Riza, the Midwest Academy and the National Council of Churches. He is the recipient of the 1994 Aguilla Azteca Medal, the highest award presented by the Mexican government to a non-citizen for his social justice activism.

Velasquez holds an advanced degree in practical theology and was ordained as a chaplain to farm workers by Rapha Ministries in 1991. He has published several articles addressing the plight of migrant farm workers.

This event is sponsored by the Short term Experimental College Program.

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