Like so many others that day, I hurried past a group of farm laborers working the fields along Belmont Avenue. As I continued down the road, their image in my mind got me thinking about their willingness to be out there performing a job that most of us wouldn't consider doing. Without these laborers, the fields and our valley's economy would surely wither. Something inside compelled me to turn back and photograph these nearly invisible members of our community. With no plan in mind, I found myself in the middle of a field communicating through gestures, my limited Spanish, and their even more limited English, that I wanted to take pictures of them. When I finally took my camera out of the bag, the group lit up with excited chatter and an almost childlike atmosphere developed. I couldn't understand what they were saying, but I could tell that they were definitely enjoying the moment. At first, they wanted to playfully pose and encouraged certain individuals to step forward to have their picture taken. I gestured that I wanted them to just be themselves and go back to what they were doing. It didn't take long for them to settle back into their routine. I quietly walked among them looking for photo opportunities to present themselves. As I prepared to leave, I could sense that they were pleased that I took the time to stop. A "gracias" final utterance by me out to the group was echoed with a "thank you" from them.
Laboring for Acceptance
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