Remembering Our Long Time Friend, Senator Edward Kennedy

August 26, 2009

Senator Kennedy was a champion for farm workers.  The Farm Worker Movement expresses our deepest condolences to the Kennedy Family. Click to read resolution from UFW’s August 2008 Convention honoring our longtime friendship.

Please share your personal memories of  Senator Kennedy by leaving a “reply” below. Viva Kennedy!

United Farm Workers of America:
Why we loved Sen. Ted Kennedy

By UFW President Arturo S. Rodriguez and
Paul F. Chavez, President Cesar E Chavez Foundation

Since Sen. Edward M. Kennedy championed the cause of Cesar Chavez and the Farm Worker Movement after picking up the mantle from Sen. Robert F. Kennedy following his assassination in 1968, no national political leader has more effectively and selflessly embraced the farm workers’ cause.

Year after year, Sen. Kennedy stood shoulder to shoulder with the farm workers in good times and bad during marches and rallies, political campaigns and legislative battles from the halls of the United States Senate to the dusty farm fields of California.

As United Farm Workers co-founder Dolores Huerta once said, Robert and Ted Kennedy “didn’t come to us and tell us what was good for us. All they said was, ‘What do you want? And how can I help?’ That’s why we love them.”

From helping convince Congress to end the infamous Bracero Program in 1964 to becoming the driving force in recent years behind the United Farm Workers’ historic AgJobs immigration reform bill in the U.S. Senate, Sen. Kennedy never failed to respond to the farm workers’ call for help.

In the last several years, Sen. Kennedy was a leading author of the landmark AgJobs bill, negotiated by the UFW and the nation’s agricultural industry to allow undocumented farm workers in this country to earn the permanent legal right to stay by continuing to work in agriculture.

The best way to honor Sen. Kennedy’s commitment and selflessness is to continue advancing the farm workers’ cause he unequivocally supported.

Comment by UFW Co-Founder Dolores Huerta

This is a great loss for the Latino community because Senator Kennedy was such a steadfast advocate and supporter of the the Latino community and farm workers specifically.

We should honor his memory by joining in the fight for universal health care and immigration reform.

Viva Ted Kennedy!