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Tomorrow, Saturday, June 15, Orange County’s 72nd Assembly District Alliance will celebrate this year’s Flag Day at the Teamsters 952 Hall in Orange. [This will be held at noon; as usual Vern Nelson will be playing piano, and beautiful Huntington Beach Councilwoman Jill Hardy will be singing God Bless America. - ed]
What will be different about this year’s celebration is the introduction of a new category of awards – the Nagi Daifullah Social Justice Award.
Nagi Daifullah was a Yemeni immigrant in Northern California was a one of the leaders with Cesar Chavez and became a strike captain during the United Farm Workers’ 1973 grape strike.
He rallied other Yemeni-Americans to join the picket lines.
Daifullah died from a beating by a Kern County sheriff’s deputy and became a legend for Yemenis all over the U.S.
The first-ever recipient of the Nagi Daifullah Social Justice Award will be Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, Director of the Islamic Society of Orange County.
Editors’ note: Last year’s Flag Day event – same time and place – was especially historic, as our editors Vern and Greg got to meet the tireless but nearly unknown activist Diana Lee Carey, then running for Westminster City Council and fighting a hitherto singlehanded fight against toll lanes on the 405. Diana got Vern involved in that struggle; Vern introduced her to [the dearly departed] Gus Ayer; Gus ran her victorious underdog campaign; the bunch of us have so far kept the toll trolls at bay; and Diana has now managed to stop the FRACKING shenanigans of Curt Pringle’s oil company in Wesminster, as well as fighting the good fight to keep LGBT Viets in the Tet Parade! What great successful struggles could arise out of THIS year’s Flag Day event??? Show up and see!
UPDATE on Nagi from The Rude Pundit:
This is from a 1977 document of the National Farm Worker Ministry archives. (The text’s presentation is an accident of how it pasted after copying it from the typed work. It strangely works well like this.)
came to this country
from his native
for a better life.
are the latest group (as
of 1977) to come to California
and be exploited
Most of them, like Nagi, are young men in their early twenties,
and live in
barren labor camps.
They come because
Yemen is one of the poorest
in the world. In 1977, average
annual income was $94.
Nagi was 5 ft. tall and weighed 100 lbs.
Unlike many of his fellow
he had learned english.
Many times he served as an interpreter
for union organizers.
at Farms near Arvin
1:15 a.m. on August
14, a group of 15 UFW members
at the Smokehouse
Cafe in Lamont,
Kern County Sheriff’s
One of the three
in the car, Deputy
a UFW picket
who was quietly
the care, for disturbing
(Such an arrest was routine in the long harassment
at UFW picket
by the Sheriff’s
during the grape strike of 1973.)
who were with Quintana
In the midst of
out 24 year old Nagi Daifullah
and went after him.
Nagi ran to get away and Deputy Cooper
The Deputy caught up with Nagi and, without
swung a long metal flashlight
at him, striking
Nagi in the back of
They left his body lying
in the gutter
near the rear door of the
to aid Nagi were told by the police
Three of those that persisted
to help Nagi were
The police did not call an ambulance.
finally called by a private citizen.
Nagi died August 15 of massive brain damage and acute blood loss.
Kern County corners’ jury ruled the death “an accident.”
of UFW workers and supporters
took part in a four mile
to a memorial
at the UFW’s Forty Acres in
The caravan then accompanied the casket to the Bakersfield
airport. Nagi’s body was flown home to Yemen for burial there.
(Note: At the memorial, United Farm Workers’ President Cesar Chavez eulogized Daifullah, calling for a three-day fast in his memory and also asking for his fellow workers to “pray for Deputy Sheriff Cooper during this time.” Nagi Dailfullah is considered one of the martyrs for the UFW’s cause, along with Nan Freeman, Juan De La Cruz, and Rufino Contreras.)