Sarah Welch spent years in the boycott campaigns in support of the United Farm Worker’s movement in California and Washington. By the age of 23, Welch was already a successful leader of the UFW movement in Seattle.
After graduating from UC Davis in 1969, she moved to Coachella Valley in southern California, taking a job as a teacher for the Coachella Valley School District. There, she witnessed the exploitative conditions suffered by Mexican migrant workers and became involved in local grape strikes. She lived in Coachella for one year and then moved to Salinas, California, where she met Cesar Chavez. In Salinas, she became involved in the United Farm Worker’s Organizing Committee (UFWOC) by helping to publicize and support farm worker grape strikes. When Cesar Chavez decided to turn to the urban areas and encourage people across the country to boycott the purchase of lettuce in 1970, Sarah moved to Seattle to help organize the Washington campaign. Working out of the Seattle office, Welch led boycotts, organized activist protests, and lobbied in state legislature to prevent bills detrimental to farm workers from being passed.
After the UFW office in Seattle closed, Welch became a lobbyist in Washington State legislature, trying to prevent bills that could adversely affect farm laborers. In this interview, she reflects on her work for the UFW as a rich and challenging experience.
Sarah Welch shared her memories in an interview with Maria Quintana. Video editing by Maria Quintana.