For the first time in the fair’s 164-year history, farmworkers got an exhibit. But the UFW, which is running the exhibit and controlling the narrative, can’t say what it’s doing for farmworkers today.
The exhibit is devoted to the “historical legacy” – not of California’s farmworkers – but of the UFW and its founders from two generations ago.
It has to be that way, because the UFW can’t boast of having done anything meaningful since César Chávez died 24 years ago.
The exhibit “honors the historical legacy of the United Farm Workers and pioneers such as Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta and Larry Itliong,” according to the Huffington Post.
“It also highlights how the present-day farm worker movement continues serving farm workers,” the Huffington Post reports, without giving any specifics.
Like an archaeological exhibit
The exhibit is so creaky and old that it features what the Huffington Post calls “historical photos and artifacts,” as if farmworkers are relics to be studied from the past, and not living people with real interests.
To be fair, the exhibit did illustrate UFW “progress” since César Chávez died 24 years ago, but the progress is pretty meager.
“Other narrative and photos—some by photojournalist David Bacon—spotlight California farm workers and the progress they have recently made, including union contracts that improve the lives of workers and their families as well as key legislative and regulatory victories protecting all farm workers,” the Huffington Post says.
Of course, the exhibit said nothing about the UFW’s 90% decline since the Chávez time, and how even Agricultural Labor Relations Board Chairman Emeritus William Gould said last year, without mentioning the union by name, that the UFW had ceased organizing in the fields and that workers simply don’t want to join.