On February 26, 2023, over 650 family members, friends, and fellow activists came together from all over the Country to Delancey Street Town Hall in San Francisco to celebrate Fred’s life. Those in attendance had the opportunity to share in his love of his family, his deep friendships, his joy and optimism, and his great works; and now get to carry on his legacy, to renew the many relationships he helped forge, and to keep organizing. A video of the touching memorial can be found here.
Fred’s last months were devoted to the production of a film to raise up and move others to organize. At this time, we ask you to honor Fred’s dream by supporting the Fred Ross Project – a film about his father, Fred Ross Sr., his organizing legacy, the power of organizing, and the critical tools to combat inequality and injustice. This is a story that, by definition, will also include Fred’s own lessons as portrayed in his timeline, axioms, and lessons for organizers. Please take a moment to donate as we get closer to the finish line of the production of the film. The link to donate is in the same link as above
Below is one episode form Fred’s remarkable life.
In 1977, Fred is sent by the UFW to organize in support of the lettuce boycott in Washington State. Because of UFW success, growers are getting nervous, and have started to lobby for anti-farmworker laws at the state level. In August, the Oregon legislature quietly passes one of these laws, which the UFW does not learn about until it is about to be signed into law by Republican Governor Tom McCall. Cesar Chavez and Jerry Cohen, worried that such legislation might diffuse around the country, focus some of the boycott apparatus on Oregon, and ask Fred to travel to Oregon and lead local grassroots organizing against the bill’s passage. Fred organizes an ongoing vigil on the steps of the capitol building in Salem, with farmworkers, clergy, and Portland community in attendance. In response to the intense public pressure, as well as UFW’s threat to organize a nationwide boycott of Oregon exports (UFW even threatens to patrol the border to limit people traveling into the state), McCall vetoes the bill. McCall says “he had never seen such pressure against a measure in 22 years as a state official and political commentator.” It’s the huge victory that no one knows about, since it likely stopped a deluge of anti-farmworker organizing bills. Ross later tells Randy Shaw, “We generated real, measurable pressure, which put us in a position to negotiate from a position of strength and save our movement.”
Read more about Fred’s life here: https://www.fredrossproject.org/fred-ross-jr-memorial-1