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Dear Rick,

No film in recent years has moved me as much as The Fight in the Fields. At a the time when the history of our working people is being erased, this marvelous movie rekindles our memory of this gallant battle. Most important, it will be a revelation to the young, who must not be deprived of their history.

Studs Terkel



Dear Ray,

Last night I watched "Fighting in the Fields" and want to congratulate you on a job well done. I am a third generation Mexican-American who has never had to work in the fields, but my father did. Last night I had lumps in my throat and I saw the reaction your documentary film had on my father. He said to me afterwards, "Be thankful to God that you never had to work in the fields."

I thank you for giving me more insight to the struggles my people have faced in this country. I wish you all the success in your brilliant career.

Larry J. Rodarte





Thomas C. Layton, Executive Director
The Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation
470 Columbus Avenue, Suite 209
San Francisco, CA 94133

Dear Mr. Layton,

I'm writing to you this time not in my official capacity as Dean's Secretary (to Jim Midgley), School of Social Welfare, Berkeley, and helper with the Gerbode Fellows program--even though that is how I have come to be acquainted with you--but rather as a private citizen and occasional viewer of public television. Last night I happened to tune into the PBS program "The Fight in the Fields," about Cesar Chavez and the United Farmworkers movement, and I noticed during both the opening and closing funding credits that The Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation had helped to fund the program.

I want to extend my sincere thanks to the Gerbode Foundation for their funding of this fine, intelligent, well crafted, thoughtful, and inspiring production. As you may or may not know, Dolores Huerta will be the commencement speaker for the School's MSW/Ph.D. graduation ceremonies later this month--which is why I was curious to watch the program in the first place--and in early April of this year the campus student center was renamed in honor of Cesar Chavez. After seeing "The Fight in the Fields," now I know why.

My thanks then, once again, to your Foundation. I learned much in but a short two-hour period, and the format/presentation will most definitely remain memorable to me.


With my best regards,

Lissa Roos Parker



I thought the documentary "The Fight in the Fields" was excellent! It gave extensive coverage of the historical relationship of labor unions
and national politics, and how Cesar and the UFW fit into the scheme of things. I believe the film gives the viewer a good idea of the amount of suffering and struggling the farmworkers, Cesar and the movement went through in their passionate desire for change. The film also exposes the fear, hatred and ignorance of the opposition by revealing their negative behavior and racist remarks. It's an excellent educational film for everyone because it covers so many subjects such as unions, immigration, politics, etc. I like how the interviews were mixed with live footage, music, government films and newsreels. And I liked how it showed how this movement inspired young Chicanos to become activists and artists. It was interesting to me to hear about the church's involvement, the significance of the practices of fasting and nonviolence, and about concepts such as 'Mississippi Eyes.'

San Francisco critic John Carman gave this documentary a bad review. To me it seems almost sacrilegious to criticize such an important piece of work. He said the film didn't mention the UFW's effectiveness, and that it does not say enough about Cesar's life to explain the type of person he became! In the review Carman also asks many questions that are clearly answered in the film. I suggest he watch it again, but this time give it the attention it deserves!!

I hope this provocative documentary helps some viewers to not only understand and sympathize with the farmworkers' struggle, but also inspires them to become social activists.

Sinceremente, Anita Quintanilla



 



Dear Rick,

I wanted to let you know how much I appreciated your documentary on the UFW. It is an amazing piece of work! As a native of Watsonville; as an attorney who worked in the San Francisco, Salinas (with the legendary Mo Jourdane) and Santa Maria (when Fred Ross, Jr. was in residence), California Rural Legal Assistance offices from 1972-1977; and someone with many friends who worked for the Labor Relations Board, it was a great bit of nostalgia and a visual reunion. Your telling of the story interwoven with the dignity and beauty of the faces of campesinos, did justice to the movement.

As another Tejada, I have kept up with your career over the past years during my departures and returns to San Francisco. It is terrific to see your work receive the national credit it deserves.

Thank you for making those years of struggle and the many courageous people involved come alive for others to witness.


Cordially,

Christine Tejada



Dear Friends:

We loved Fight in the Fields! We cried often and throughout--at deaths and at victories, at defeats and at moments of solidarity against adversity. It really brought back memories of how despicable Reagan and Duke were and how angry and often helpless we felt.

The segment on the explosion of cultural production inspired by the movement was right on. We have a section in our film in which a Black screenwriter says she didn't realize how important a political movement was to pry open the cultural doors that permitted her a brief foothold in Hollywood. It's also true for the grassroots. The political movement pried open our minds and spirits. Your film really brought that back and made it real.





There's a lot more we could say about the incredible archival footage and the photos, which were Amazing. We think you hit it right--it really is a history of that time as reflected in the movement and the life of its leader. It reminds us of Taylor Branch's Parting the Waters--the great book about the civil rights movement and Martin Luther King. Some of the critics may have missed this, but we didn't. It was clear as it could be. Many congratulations. We hope you are well. Stay in touch... and once again Bravo. Encore!

Sincerely,

Alan Snitow Deborah Kaufman

 


 

Dear Ray and Rick,

This is to congratulate, thank and salute you for your benchmark UFW film. You have told the story of the farmworkers, Cesar and the UFW with no false notes. It could not have been easy and I think now you can rest a bit on your laurels.

Every viewer who was a part of that struggle surely felt as I did- "You told my story". Thanks, Rick.

Ann McGregor