Farm Workers in Washington State History Project
Video Oral Histories

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Veterans of the UFW campaign and activists who grew up in farm worker families discuss their experiences in videotaped oral histories that can be viewed online. The links below lead to brief personal biographies and streaming-video excerpts of each interview.

Pedro Acevez

Born in Wapato, Washington, Pedro Acevez was part of the first contingent of Chicano students to enroll at the University of Washington. He served as President of MEChA de UW and helped organize farm workers in the Yakima Valley as part of a United Farm Workers campaign in the early 1970s.

Emilio Aguayo

An artist and one of the first Chicano muralists in Washington State, Aguayo attended UW in the late 1960s and was active in both the Chicano and farm workers movements. His murals, including several at the University, remain key symbols of the Chicano movement that transformed the state and the university.

Yolanda Alaniz

The daughter of farm workers, Yolanda Alaniz was active in MEChA, the Brown Berets, the Freedom Socialist Party and Radical Women, in addition to writing for the UW Daily on Chicana issues. She now works as an archivist, preserving Chicano/a history.

Juan Jose Bocanegra

Born in Mexico, raised in Texas, Juan Bocanegra moved to Seattle in 1971 to earn a graduate degree at UW. He quickly became active in the Chicano movement on campus and in the community, including the establishment of El Centro de la Raza. He also participated in the American Indian Movement struggles.

 Erasmo Gamboa

As a student at the University of Washington in the late 1960s and early 1970s Erasmo Gamboa was a founding member of MEChA, organized the grape boycott in support of farm workers, and was instrumental in establishing the Chicano Studies Program. He later earned his Ph.D and now teaches American Ethnic Studies and U.S. History at UW.

Guadalupe Gamboa

Co-founder of the UFW in Washington State, Lupe Gamboa , grew up in the Yakima Valley where his family worked in the fields. In 1967 he attended UW where he was involved in Chicano student activities, later returning to the valley where he and Tomas Villanueva launched the movement that became the United Farm Workers of Washington State. An attorney, he remains active in the labor movement.

 Rosalinda Guillen

Rosalinda Guillen helped lead the United Farm Workers campaign that resulted in a contract with Chateau Ste. Michelle winery in 1995. A native of Skagit County, she had worked in the fields when she was young, then built a successful career as a bank officer. She gave that up to devote herself to farm worker organizing.

Frank Martinez and Blanca Estella Martinez

Frank Martinez and Blanca Estella met at the UW during the 1970s. Active in MEChA and the farm workers movement, they were also principle actors and organizers of Teatro del Piojo, the activist Chicano theater troup that performed throughout the Pacific Northwest during the 1970s.

Carmen Miranda

Chicana educator, organizer, and labor advocate Carmen Miranda was born in, Texas in 1951. Her parents were migratory field workers and she traveled with them through Texas, Washington, and Idaho for work. Moving to Seattle in 1972, she joined El Centro de la Raza and began a long career as a child educator and vocal advocate of civil rights for people of color.

Rebecca Saldaña

Raised in Seattle, Rebecca Saldaña  is an activist  and labor organizer. Involved in farmworker solidarity efforts with PCUN and the United Farmworkers, she worked on Fair Trade Apples campaign. Currently she organizes janitors with SEIU Local 6 and is a board member of STITCH.

Tomas Villanueva

Founder and past President of the United Farm Workers of Washington state, Tomas Villanueva was 14 when his family immigrated from Mexico, settling in Toppenish three years later.  Since the mid 1960s, he has devoted his life to the struggle to unionize farm workers.

Sarah Welch

An activist with United Farm Workers, Sarah Welch moved to Washington from California in 1970 to help organize the lettuce boycott campaign, later helping the union lobby for farmworker rights in the state legislature.

 


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