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Letters to the Editor – April 2013

Memorial Honoring Crash Victims

January 28 marked an important historical anniversary. Sixty-five years ago, a chartered immigration plane crashed and burned in Los Gatos Canyon near Coalinga. Twenty-eight migrant farmworkers, three crew members and one immigration guard all perished in what was called the worst airline disaster in the history of the Central California Valley.

The 28 migrant passengers were laid to rest in a mass grave at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery on Belmont Avenue in Fresno. A bronze marker identifies the burial site. However, for unknown reason, lacks the names of the deceased as one would normally find inscribed on cemetery markers. As written by musician Woody Guthrie, the names of these migrant passengers were not disclosed to the public in any of the newspapers at that time, which prompted him to write a song called “Deportee” in protest of the offensive omission.

Sixty-five years later, the song Guthrie wrote is again raising interest from musical artists familiar with “Deportee.” Intrigued audiences that have heard the story over the years, along with other visitors who are familiar with the event, occasionally come to Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery to visit the gravesite.

Under the direction of the Diocese of Fresno and the Woody Guthrie Foundation, efforts are under way to raise enough funds to purchase a large memorial honoring the 32 victims of the crash and finally engrave the names of the 28 citizens of Mexico that never returned home.

A dedication will be held on Sept. 2 at 10 a.m.

For more info, contact Carlos Rascon, director of Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery, at 559-488-7449.

Carlos Rascon
Fresno

Southwest Fresno Community Garden Seeks Support

New Light for New Life Church of God, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, held a community garden workshop on March 23, teaching our youth the importance of eating healthy to promote healthy families, to eat right and live longer. The youth have named their Community Garden the “Unity Peace Garden” to bring all people together with peace.

We teach our young people how to appreciate mother earth and how to work the ground to produce healthy food. The purpose of this garden is to encourage the community to work together in unity and work through our farmer’s market to sell the “fruits of their labor.”

This is our second year working with the youth in West Fresno. We will grow fresh vegetables such as okra, greens, peppers, corn, zucchini, tomatoes, squash, onions, eggplants and more. We will plant fruit trees such as peaches, nectarines, oranges, apples, lemons, lemon limes, grape, persimmons and more. We will also have some pecans, walnuts and almonds.

We are seeking resources for our 2013 garden to empower our youth, and I would like to have your support to help our youth in our community learn more about farming and build entrepreneurial skills. The garden is located in West Fresno to bring peace, hope and unity to our community. Thank you for your support. Feel free to contact Rev. Floyd D. Harris, Jr., at 559-851-5764 for more information.

The youth are in need of the following supplies to have a successful 2013: black plastic to cover rows; a shed; seeds or plants; rakes, shovels, iron rakes, leaf rakes and hoes; T-tape irrigation; compost; a water hose; #15 2×6 10 footers (nails ) for raise beds; water bottles; fruit trees; irrigation line; and canopies.

Rev. Floyd D. Harris, Jr.
Fresno

Response to “CHP Targets Farmworkers for Car Impounds”

The CHP chief was there and you didn’t even mention that? Quality journalism. Don’t cry when an unlicensed driver t-bones your car, either.

Jim Guy
Fresno

Community Alliance writer Pam Whalen responds: The Community Alliance is a monthly publication. My article appeared in the December issue, which came out on Dec. 1. The deadline for that issue was Nov. 15. The press conference that the CHP chief attended was held on Dec. 5.

  • The Community Alliance is a monthly newspaper that has been published in Fresno, California, since 1996. The purpose of the newspaper is to help build a progressive movement for social and economic justice.

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