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Hundreds March to Remember the Farmworkers’ Movement in Texas

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In 1966, farmworkers marched 491 miles from the Rio Grande Valley to the Texas State Capitol as part of a strike to demand a better way of living. The incredible march led Texas to adopt its first minimum wage statewide and ignited the Chicano movement in Texas.

In order to commemorate the event, an estimated 10,000 demonstrators marched for four miles to the capitol building from St. Edwards University. This is where the 1966 protestors slept before walking the final stretch to let the government know they would no longer pick crops for 40-60 cents an hour without water or facilities while other workers received a minimum wage of $1.25 an hour.

Texas Civil Rights Project founder Jim Harrington told the Texas Observer that the original march “was the catalyst that brought everything together, and a lot of the young people in it went on to get involved in politics.”

During the event at the capitol on Sunday, live music played and speakers such as Mayor Steve Adler and former director of Texas United Farm Workers, Rebecca Flores, addressed the crowd.

Flores spoke about Mexican-American workers rights following the 1966 march. She warned that “many of those legislative gains we won in the 1980s aren’t being enforced now. So we have to be there for the upcoming legislative session to fight for that.”