Farm worker selfies: Pics for immigration reform

Migrant workers harvest strawberries at a farm March 13, 2013 near Oxnard, California. A mess with no easy fix: American crops going unpicked -- it's backbreaking work Americans won't touch -- and poor migrants in need of work are shying away for fear of being abused. AFP PHOTO/JOE KLAMAR

In the past farm workers have used some pretty standard methods to get their message across to the public, but today the United Farm Workers (UFW) launched with a new-school tactic.

The UFW began a campaign called “Photos From The Field” where farm workers take pictures of themselves with their cell phones during their lunch breaks at work. The idea is to ride the trend of many Americans who take "selfies" -- self-taken photos.

UFW president Arturo Rodriguez says the organization is realizing that social media is a limitless platform for getting messages out for farm workers.

“Farm workers have tried to show the importance of immigration reform through faxes and picket lines.  But another new method that helps visualize the sacrifice farm workers make everyday is to utilize social media” said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez couldn’t give an exact number, but he says a lot of farm workers use Facebook and Twitter and that the UFW has been working on utilizing this growing medium.

"This is really the first time we’ve used social media for a national campaign. We’re going to begin working with farmers at the local level on how to use social media to get their message out there," said Rodriguez. "We’re looking at this more and more as a way to communicate with folks and get them engaged in action."

The UFW is launching the campaign in the midst of a high-profile debate in Washington over immigration reform. The union hopes to urge lawmakers to support legislation that would give 11 million undocumented immgrants a path to U.S. citizenship.

Follow the campaign on Twitter and Facebook by using the hashtag #fieldfotos.

Take a look at what farm workers from around the country have been posting!

About the author

John Ketchum is an assistant producer for Marketplace’s wealth & poverty desk.

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