OC Democrats introduce Nagi Daifullah Social Justice Award for Flag Day – UPDATED by the Rude Pundit!


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Jill Hardy

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. 

Reprinted with permission from Happy Arab News Services.

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!

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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.)

Nagi Daifullah
came to this country
from his native
Yemen,
looking
for a better life.
Yemenese
farm workers
are the latest group (as
of 1977) to come to California
and be exploited
by state
growers.
Most of them, like Nagi, are young men in their early twenties,
shy
and slight
of frame.
Moslem,
they speak
no english
and live in
barren labor camps.
They come because
Yemen is one of the poorest
countries
in the world. In 1977, average
annual income was $94.

Nagi was 5 ft. tall and weighed 100 lbs.
Unlike many of his fellow
workers,
he had learned english.
Many times he served as an interpreter
for union organizers.
An active
UFW member,
he provided
important
leadership
for workers
on strike
at Farms near Arvin
and
Lamont, California.

His Death

At approximately
1:15 a.m. on August
14, a group of 15 UFW members
were socializing
at the Smokehouse
Cafe in Lamont,
California.
A
Kern County Sheriff’s
Department
vehicle arrived.
One of the three
officers
in the car, Deputy
Gilbert
Cooper,
began harassing
Frank
Quintana,
a UFW picket
captain.
Cooper
attempted
to arrest
Quintana,
who was quietly
standing
outside
the care, for disturbing
the peace.
(Such an arrest was routine in the long harassment
and
arrest
campaign
directed
at UFW picket
captains
by the Sheriff’s
Department
during the grape strike of 1973.)

The farmworkers
who were with Quintana
protested.
In the midst of
this confrontation,
Cooper singled
out 24 year old Nagi Daifullah
and went after him.
Nagi ran to get away and Deputy Cooper
began
chasing
him.
The Deputy caught up with Nagi and, without
warning,
swung a long metal flashlight
at him, striking
Nagi in the back of
the head.

Nagi

crumpled

to the

ground,

unconscious

and

bleeding

profusely.

Two sherrif’s
deputies
dragged
him sixty
feet along
the pavement.
They left his body lying
in the gutter
near the rear door of the
police car.
People attempting
to aid Nagi were told by the police
to leave.
Three of those that persisted
in trying
to help Nagi were
arrested.
The police did not call an ambulance.
An ambulance
was
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.”

Thousands
of UFW workers and supporters
took part in a four mile
procession
to a memorial
service
at the UFW’s Forty Acres in
Delano.
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.)

 


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