We were greeted last night in Merced by Latino motorcyclists, members of the Mi Gente club based in this valley town. The bikers roared through the community, drawing people out of their homes; some residents joined us for the end of the day's trek. Mi Gente escorted us to Gilbert Macias Park for a after-march rally with about 110 people. Great supporters turned out. The bikers sponsored dinner at the park, getting residents and supporters involved. The people in Merced are now organizing a couple of buses to travel to Sacramento for last day of the march on Sunday, Sept. 4. Mi Gente members will drive up that day on their bikes. Unfortunately, Ruth Martinez, the registered nurse accompanying the march, fell and broke her ankle. We visited her at the hospital in Merced where she is undergoing surgery on Thursday. All she could say was how disappointed she is over not being able to go the entire route because of her injury.
We attracted another solid day of media coverage: NBC-TV San Francisco ran five reports throughout the day; two stories on ABC-TV Fresno; Radio Bilingue national aired two separate segments; KPFA Pacifica Radio in Berkeley; and the Merced Sun and Monterey Herald are working on articles.
This morning, Day 3 of the march, we began south of Merced, heading 18 miles to Livingston. Father Mike McAndrew once again celebrated Mass at 7 a.m. alongside the road next to an almond orchard. We end up at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church on "E" Street in Livingston. We will be with Pastor Bill Ruth, a longtime farm worker champion.
Joining us on Sept. 4 at the state Capitol will be Larry Hernandez, a super popular performer of regional Mexican music with a special recording deal with Univision, the largest television network in the country in either English or Spanish. Larry regularly appears on Radio Campesina, the nine-station farm worker radio network with 500,000 daily listeners in four states. Two big groups, Los Intocables and Reyes de Arranque, have recorded promos for the march. Other celebrities and legislators are also going to be joining us next week.
Arturo S. Rodriguez, President United Farm Workers of America