MONTEREY COUNTY — Monterey County Supervisors Luis Alejo and Chris Lopez will be conducting a special honoring of living Bracero workers who reside in Monterey County at the Sept. 12 Board of Supervisors meeting in Salinas as part of the first-ever “Bracero History Recognition Week” in Monterey County.
The Bracero Program operated between 1942 and 1964 that brought millions of Mexican workers to provide labor in the agriculture and railroad industries, many of whom came to the Salinas and Pajaro valleys. Today, those original Bracero workers laid the foundation for thousands of Latino families in Monterey County.
According to Alejo, the County of Monterey has never officially recognized the significant contributions of Bracero workers in the county, stating that it’s “now time to honor their legacy within agriculture industry in Monterey County, and in our local communities.”
Both Alejo and Lopez’s late grandfathers were Bracero workers.
“Many of fathers and grandfathers were Bracero workers who came during a critical time in our nation’s history to provide labor in the agriculture or railroad industries, but their sacrifice and legacy has never been officially recognized by the County of Monterey,” said Alejo, chair of the Monterey County Board of Supervisors. “It’s now time that we honor them. They laid the foundation for our families to settle here and have better opportunities.”
The ceremony will also remember the 60th Anniversary of the Chualar Bracero Tragedy of Sept. 17, 1963, when 32 Bracero workers were killed in a collision with a train and their makeshift “bus” and 25 other workers were severely injured. At the time, the California Highway Patrol deemed the tragedy as “the biggest single fatal vehicle accident in the history of California,” and was a determining factor in the decision by Congress to terminate the program in 1964.
To honor individuals who worked in the Bracero Program, Supervisors Alejo and Lopez are looking to present living original Bracero workers who reside in Monterey County with their own framed special proclamation highlighting their sacrifices and contributions to the Salinas Valley and agricultural industry as an Original Bracero Worker of Monterey County.
“I invite living Bracero workers who reside in Monterey County to contact my office to receive a special proclamation during the ceremony on September 12 in Salinas,” Alejo said.
Anyone interested in receiving recognition and participating in the special honoring ceremony should contact Alejo’s District Office at 831-755-5011 or via email at [email protected].