Governor Moonbeam – Basta Ya

By Mike Smith

This poem is in reaction to the Governor’s recent unexpected veto of legislation that would help reduce retaliation against farm workers seeking union representation.
Where there was darkness light
Now clouds of black broken hopes.
De colores, De colores, De colores.
Tears and sweat
Years of struggle vetoed away
Gentle Cesar restless in his grave
Calling out, “Mi amigo Jerry, que paso?”
With a pen stroke wiping out
A path to dignity and respect
Toilets in the fields
Food on the table
A voice fading
In twisted realms of backroom deals,
broken promises, shattered dreams
Souls riddled with smug compromise
Jerry, remember
We marched for the UFW
I marched for las clinicas
Chanted “Si, se puede” in your face
Back then
Lean and trim
You heard our voices
Now you look the other way
Where there is injury, Pardon
No, No, No Pardon
Jerry, your soul drips with blood
La gente poisoned in the fields
Dreams crushed by a pen stroke
Los ninos hungry in the night
Las familias sleeping in their cars
Si, se puede
We will remember
Thousands of us will rise up
Brown, white, black, gay, men and women
From the hills, valleys and coasts
We will march again
Across the graves of cynicism and hypocrisy
Si, se puede
We hear Cesar’s voice
Echoing in our hearts.  Basta ya.
Los otros
Seniors without homecare, workers without jobs,
children without healthcare
Families without homes, students without teachers
We will hear the people crying in the night
We will march again
Basta ya, si, se puede

Mike Smith, a Sonoma resident for 41 years, chaired the Valley of the Moon Friends of the Farm Workers Committee in 1971, marched with the United Farm Workers in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s, and was part of a statewide coalition of Latinos, Native Americans, seniors, and healthcare professionals, in 1973 and 1974, that successfully lobbied then Governor Jerry Brown to sign AB 2450, funding the first clinics in rural California.

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