Florida’s Governor Rick Scott recently vetoed funding that would have helped a minority community that has been exposed to pesticides and toxins get the health care assistance that they desperately need! What about being sick and not having access to critical health care does he not understand?
Governor Rick Scott does not understand what it means to be a farmworker! He does not understand the personal risks farmworkers take every day in order for us to have an abundant supply of food. Their long time exposure to pesticides can result in chronic illnesses that can be both debilitating and expensive. A high price to pay for a low-paying job.
Recently, Florida’s Governor Rick Scott used his line item veto to cut $500,000 from the state budget that would have helped the former Lake Apopka farmworkers and the environmental justice community in the area of Apopka, Florida. Governor Scott’s veto of a $500,000 budget allocation to the local clinic denies the people not only the needed assistance for much needed health care, but also the validation that they have been seeking for years for their contributions to the economy and for their personal losses and suffering.
Just north of the tourist mecca of Orlando, the town of Apopka, and the former farmlands of Lake Apopka, has been a vital element in the food system within the United States since the 1940s.
African-American, Haitian, and Hispanic farmworkers worked the land to ensure that the United States was fed every day. They were exposed to deadly and toxic pesticide so toxic that many of them have since been banned. Some of these pesticides were found to be the root cause in the largest in-land bird death in the United States, as well as of the severe physical abnormalities and deformities discovered within alligator populations living along the shores of Lake Apopka.
Since the closing of these farmlands in 1998, former Lake Apopka farmworkers have had to deal with grief, loss of loved ones and chronic disease, some of which have been linked to pesticide exposure. Many farmworkers, their children, and their grand-children, are feeling the effects of long-term and generational pesticide exposure. Many have lupus, cancer, diabetes… but do not have the access or resources to obtain medical assistance. More than just sickness, former farmworkers are dying every month, every week, and every day as a result of their commitment to feed America.
After years of being neglected, ignored, and 'invisible', this veto of such a small amount of money is a deep disappointment. We are asking our friends, allies, and supporters of farmworkers to send letters to Governor Scott in opposition to his veto and in support of the farmworkers who fed us all and who paid for it with their health.
Join us in creating a more equal world for farmworkers and a fair and just food system! Please sign our petition and share it with others.
Sí, se puede! Yes, we can! Thank you!