The Starr County Industrial Foundation together with former members of the United Farm Workers Movement and members of La Union del Pueblo Entero (LUPE) held an unveiling ceremony for a historical marker commemorating the birthplace of the 1966 Farm Workers Movement at the South Texas College (STC) Starr County Campus.
The Movement that originated in Starr County over 5 decades ago began when farm workers made demands in regards to better wages and improved working conditions.
To highlight their efforts, the farmers left the fields they worked on to protest the poor working conditions and low pay. On June 1, 1966 hundreds of workers went on strike.
STC Starr County Board Representative, Rose Benavidez says this historical event changed the lives of many.
“We need to remember this group of people that changed the way many of our family and neighbors were treated as they worked their hands to the bone to pick the crops that fed us all,” said Benavidez.
On July 4 of the same year, 120 workers began the march from Rio Grande City to the Texas State Capitol in Austin. They ended their march on Sept. 5, 1966, Labor Day.
The historical marker was unveiled on Dec. 7, 2017 by those who personally took part in the march of 1966.
The efforts of those farm workers made a difference, today workers receive the federal minimum wage and portable bathrooms are provided for those working.
Benavidez says it’s all thanks to those valiant workers in 1966.
"We live in an agricultural rich region that thanks to collective efforts has evolved, but we cannot forget that this change was ignited by the conviction and courage of these strikers.”