Baldemar Velasquez speaks at ArtRage

October 21, 2022 - 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

In partnership with the Workers Center of CNY and in honor of his portrait currently on exhibition, we welcome Baldemar Velasquez to ArtRage Gallery.

Baldemar Velasquez is an internationally recognized leader in the farmworker and immigrants rights movements. Baldemar founded the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) in 1967. Under his leadership FLOC has set international precedents in labor history, including being the first union to negotiate multi-party collective bargaining agreements, and the first to represent H2A international guestworkers under a labor agreement.

Born in 1947, Baldemar grew up in a migrant farmworker family based in the Rio Grande valley of Texas. Every year, his family would migrate to the Midwest and other regions to work in the fields planting, weeding, and harvesting crops like pickles, tomatoes, sugar beets, and berries. They traveled in trucks and old cars, and often lived in barns and converted chicken coops. The family eventually settled in Ohio, and Baldemar worked in the fields seasonally through his high school years to help support the family. In 1969 he became the first member of his family to graduate from college, graduating from Bluffton College with a BA in Sociology.

He was named a MacArthur Fellow (also known as the “Genius Grant”) in 1989, and awarded the Order of the Aztec Eagle in 1994, the highest honor Mexico can bestow on a non-citizen.

This event is co-sponsored by the Workers’ Center of Central New York