It took a few seconds for it to hit me: The poem's words are what the *fields* would tell if they could speak. But once you realize that and keep it in mind as you listen to the rest of the spoken-word poem, the reality of what happens in the fields will hit you hard. Trigger warning: While the video and lyrics are not overtly graphic, they still depict a woman experiencing sexual assault and harassment from her supervisor. If you're a survivor or are set off by depictions of sexual assault, please take care.
- This video and poem were created based on the very real problem of sexual assault that female farm workers, the vast majority of whom are Latina immigrants, are facing daily as they work in the fields. You've just seen a creative response. You can read more about the investigative reporting that inspired it here.
- We've also posted other videos on Upworthy about this. Here's one by my buddy, Brandon Weber.
- So far, hundreds of these female agricultural workers have come forward about the sexual and physical harassment they face on the field. In the vast majority of the cases, the perpetrator was a supervisor.
- In September 2014, California Gov. Joe Brown signed a bill to better protect these women, requiring sexual harassment training for all employees.
- One of the reporters who's investigated rape on the fields, Bernice Yeung, has an article here providing resources for farm workers who face assault and harassment.
About the poem itself:
- At 1:08, our poet says "I am the field de calzones." This quite literally means "the field of panties" — which, according to an article in Marie Claire, is the nickname farm workers in Salinas, California, gave to one company's field because of the number of supervisors who rape women in it.
- Besides that, there's other Spanish thrown in the middle of English. At 1:05, the poet says "the cries of help from las mujeres." "Las mujeres" refers to the women. At 1:20, "Si, se puede!" means "Yes, we can!" and is a direct reference to the slogan coined by Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, who co-founded the United Farm Workers and rallied Latino farm workers in strikes and boycotts against agribusinesses.
- Just in case it wasn't clear, the poem is from the field's point of view. Pretty poetic and beautiful, right? Scroll down below to take a look at the transcript if you need it to follow along!