By Sheryl Hamlin
With a backdrop of dozens of teenaged soccer players, 95-year old Albino Pineda of Santa Paula presented the dream of his farmworker monument, an idea which had been presented to the city council fifteen years earlier.
“Driving around and watching the people around the county stripping down, I kept thinking, who appreciates those who bring food to our tables?” God gave him the idea for the monument, he said, which he shared with locals who encouraged him. His daughter, on the board of the James Irvine Foundation, assured him of a $55,000 donation. Essential funding also came from the Limoneira company and other individuals, said Mr. Pineda.
As a 95-year old, Mr. Pineda has decided that maintenance is no longer possible for him, so he is formally turning over the monument to the city.
Said Dr. Aguirre, former council member, it started with a dream to honor farmworkers all over the country and the world. And, indeed, there are names from other countries as well. As the only monument of its kind in the country, it helped put Santa Paula on the map.
The council was positive at the time the idea was presented. Former council member Procter and Dr. Aguirre, on the council at the time, were members of the committee which raised $300,000 initial funding. Mr. Pineda’s daughter also raised money from the various foundations she represented. They collected names for $100 each (or less) with over 2,000 names on the monument. The city provided in-kind support as well.
The concept moved from design to production after input from the community. The original design team consisted of the following citizens:
The simple design allowed for the showcasing of many names and a striking statement.
Visit this website for more professional pictures of the monument: Farm Workers Memorial Plaza
Dedicated by Farmworker Astronaut
At the dedication in August 15, 2010, Astronaut Jose Hernandez, from a migrant farmworker family, was the keynote speaker “How high can a farmworker go?”.
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