17-year old Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez died in 2008 while laboring in the grape vineyards. Her death is hard to accept because it didn’t need to happen. It appears basic heat laws were not observed by the labor contractors, who are accused of failing to provide Jimenez with access to a nearby source of drinking water, shade from the sun, training in how to recognize symptoms of heat illness, and swift medical attention. Maria’s temperature reached 108 degrees on a day California's occupational safety agency issued a heat-danger warning to employers.
There was a crucial court hearing on, Thursday, July 29, on the circumstances surrounding Maria’s death. The judge was expected to decide whether the case against three people charged with felonies for contributing to Maria Isabel’s death would proceed to trial. He also could have weighed in on whether the ex-farm labor contractors will face jail time if convicted. At the defence's request, the judge delayed the hearing until October.
The family strongly feels anyone found responsible for 17-year-old Maria Isabel’s death should be jailed. The UFW is doing all we can to support the family and asks you to lend your support. Please sign the pledge to do what you can to ensure that the people responsible for Maria’s death are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Let Maria’s family know that people throughout the nation are standing with them.