Kern County, California has a long history of political action as the birthplace of the farmworker rights movement and the training grounds for generations of civil rights leaders who continue to fight for safe and fair working conditions across the nation. Despite this legacy, farmworkers in Kern County are currently feeding the nation during the COVID-19 pandemic, but are not receiving protections from the government or the companies that employ them.
Kern County has virtually no measures in place for farmworkers facing economic devastation. At the same time, undocumented farmworkers have been excluded from federal programs and are even now being threatened with pay cuts to their already low income. In addition to unprecedented economic threats, farmworkers are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and are more likely to experience poor outcomes from the disease.
Kern County is facing a second economic blow as the oil market crashes. Kern County is home to some of the most productive oil fields in the nation, yet is one of the poorest regions with the highest rates of unemployment. The extraction of oil has generated billions of dollars for corporations and investors, but left the local economy weak and its workforce dependent on an unsustainable and unhealthy industry. Due to the COVID-19 crisis and simultaneous collaspe of the oil market, workers throughout the region are reeling with very few resources available to get them through this critical time.
In an effort to provide immediate support for impacted workers and residents and to lay the foundation for a more sustainable and resilient economy, the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment, in partnership with local labor leaders, invites you to donate to the “Kern County Community Resiliency Fund.”
Kern County residents and workers need your support now.