The new NFWM Harvest of Justice: Studying farmworkers and racism

By Cornelius Raff

The Office of Peacebuilding and Policy encourages congregational study of the situation of farmworkers, with new resources provided by its long-standing partner the National Farm Worker Ministry (NFWM).

The NFWM has once again started a season of advocacy and awareness with its upcoming Harvest of Justice campaign. This year’s initiative critically examines the racism that farmworkers continue to encounter, which is deeply manifested in American law.

In the mid-1930s, the US government
implemented a series of labor rights:

Please pray… For the work of the National Farm Worker Ministry and all of those it serves. Please pray for all the church congregations and other communities who will be studying farmworkers and racism through this new resource, “Harvest of Justice.”

— In 1935, the passage of the National Labor Relations Act marked a significant step by granting the right to organize without fear of reprisal. However, its provisions deliberately lacked protection for farmworkers and domestic workers.

— Fast-forward to 1938, when the Fair Labor Standards Act introduced essential regulations such as overtime policies and a baseline minimum wage. Nevertheless, it again purposely left out agricultural workers from its coverage.

Today, more than 75 years later, nearly three-quarters of farmworkers are foreign-born and still suffer from the legacy of obsolete and discriminatory laws. This year’s Harvest of Justice offers a resource for a six-week study program to approach this complex and historically rooted issue.

The Office of Peacebuilding and Policy encourages you to use this program as a guide for educating and advocating in your congregation and community between Labor Day (Sept. 4) and World Food Day (Oct. 16). For 50 years, the Church of the Brethren has been walking alongside the NFWM, sharing their spirit and undergirding their support for marginalized groups.

Visit https://nfwm.org/resource-center/harvest-of-justice/harvest-of-justice-2023-farm-workers-racism for more information about the Harvest of Justice 2023 and to download the six weeks of resources plus bonus materials.

— Cornelius Raff is serving at the Church of the Brethren’s Office of Peacebuilding and Policy, as a Brethren Volunteer Service worker.


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