Student Takeover Blog by Marlene Paiz, Library Student Ambassador
I never imagined that writing a book would take as long as my brother did when he wrote: "The Strikers of Coachella: A Rank-and-File History of the UFW Movement." I assumed it would just take 2 or 3 years, but it took about 12 years of hard work. Around 2018, my brother visited the family in Coachella, California, bringing with him 10 cuadernos, each of those notebooks was a chapter of the book, which he ultimately neglected to take back with him. He left his notebooks behind and gave me a fun task: he wanted me to snap photos of each of the 10 chapters and send them to him through email.
Fast forward to today, February 2023…
I was filled with joy when I learned that my brother, Dr.Christian Paiz, would be visiting CSUEB to give a talk about his newly published book, and I was even more thrilled to learn a few weeks later that he would be delivering the author talk at the CORE where I currently work as a Library Ambassador. My roommates and I attended the author talk, and as I listened to him talk about his book, all I could think of was how delighted I am for him, especially after having watched him go through the process of writing the book. His book tells the history of the United Farm Worker (UFW) Movement in the Coachella Valley. The UFW fought to improve working and living conditions for farmworkers in the 1960s to 1980s.
My roommate Aislyn mentioned that she "loved hearing how passionate Christian is about making the brave people who fought for a better life heard. There seems to be little else documented from this very important time period from the people's perspective, so his work is incredibly inspiring. I'm glad their perspectives were made known before time sweeps them away." My other roommate, Angie mentioned "Christian Paiz was a phenomenal speaker educating individuals of the history of Coachella Valley on the viewpoints of immigrant workers and the conditions they had faced while working. He brought their stories to life by illustrating the conditions they faced and displaying photos of different individuals portraying that everyone has a story. I was intrigued …since I still have family who are farm workers and still strive for better work conditions. I appreciate hearing his book and look forward to reading it soon." Personally, I was astonished to learn that my hometown, Coachella Valley, formerly had a town called "Araby," which has disappeared. I had no idea it existed, in part because no one in my area ever brings it up, but it made perfect sense to learn that the town's name had something to do with how it was founded.
As part of the Library Ambassador team, and to help promote Dr. Paiz's book talk on "The Strikers of Coachella: A Rank-and-File History of the UFW Movement," I helped put together an exhibit that was decorated with tissue paper flowers in the colors that represent the UFW (red, black) and Black History Month (red, black, green). Putting the display together about farm workers helps me share the stories of people I used to serve in my community of Coachella Valley. It helps me raise awareness and inform the CSUEB community about the struggles and ongoing fights for safer working conditions, secure housing, labor, legal services, health services, etc. and further recognize that without the labor of farm workers we would not be able to access the fruits and vegetables that we eat. This is an ongoing fight for labor rights. This feels good because I want to take care of my community. I was astonished to learn that the Black Panther Party had supported the UFW by participating in the boycotting and other support.
Check out the UFW/Black History Month Exhibit which highlights our campus library resources - print books, ebooks, and online archives related to the UFW, the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Black Panther Party (BPP), the Young Lords Party (YLP), and the Brown Berets. As well as the DISC Black History Month book display (also on the first floor of the CORE Library). We have also included resources on social movements from the 1930s to 1950s that paved the way for the Black and Latinx social movements of the 1960s.
Come check out the exhibit on the CORE Library's 1st floor!!!