New York Farmworker Protection Bill

Richard Witt,
Executive Director of Rural and Migrant Ministry (RMM)

First, click on the link and watch the video … then read the material below which is found in the info section of the video on youtube!

Here is what the ‘more info’ section states:

The following material appeared in a documentary that aired on RNN back on September 26, 1996. It was entitled, "Migrant Farm Workers: The Rural Reality." Witt is a primary source of information for the host of the program. He is featured prominently throughout the piece. One exchange in the piece typifies what levels Witt will stoop to. The scene takes place alongside Pulaski Highway in the Black Dirt farming area of Orange County. 

This is what the piece suggests/implies:

Sometime between 1993 and 1994 a 6 year old child of a farmworker crossed a busy highway in the dark of night to use an outhouse, with no door, that was across the road and faced the highway. The child was struck and killed. Some time after the child died Witt held a memorial service which was disrupted purposefully by a crop duster. It is unclear if the crop duster disrupted the service of his own volition or was put up to it by local farmers.

Here is what actually happened:

The accident occurred not in 1993 or 1994, but in 1989. The toilet for the housing was actually on the same side of the road, it did not face the highway, and had a door. Young Guierrmo Zuniga (known as "Junior") was not going to the bathroom when the accident occurred, neither did it occur at night. "Junior" was riding on a single pedal bike with his brother, in the late morning. Pulaski Highway is indeed a busy highway, and the two children riding the single bike made the fatal mistake of cutting across the highway to get to Skinners Lane. A young woman struck the bike and Junior was killed. A funeral was held a short time later at the T.S. Purta funeral home in Pine Island, which the farmer and the farmer's family all attended. It is my understanding that neither Richard Witt nor anyone connected with Rural & Migrant Ministry bothered to attend that service in 1989. No one, no farmer, nor the crop duster knew anything about this video’s alleged ad-hoc ceremony held somewhere on the highway. And to imply that the farmers arranged a crop duster (or the crop duster decided on his own) to purposefully disrupted a memorial service for a child so tragically killed, is a heinous and despicable lie. For Witt to even suggest it does a terrible disservice to the collar he wears.

Finally, if Witt felt the piece was edited in such a way to misrepresent the facts, after the documentary proper ended there was an additional 30 minutes or so spent in the studio, with Witt, the narrator and another "source," who took calls and added additional information. Witt at that point certainly could have corrected any mistakes in the piece. He did not.

Another interesting fact, according to RMM's website
Witt didn't take the job at RMM until 1991. The boy died in 1989, two years prior.

One final note regarding this example, if you go to this link on RMM's website
you will see a photograph of Witt standing with a few college students. It appears to be a recently taken picture. The spot where the photograph is taken is exactly the same spot where the above-mentioned incident occurred. Do you think Witt is there to "set the record straight" or, more likely, is he still telling that story, again, using it as propaganda fodder for future activists?

Though Witt is supposed to be a representative of "the Prince of Peace," his actions are more reflective of Machiavelli's "The Prince." It seems the "ends always justify the means," whether it be lying to the IRS, misleading the public regarding laws related to farmworkers, or claiming to represent farmworkers when he doesn't, or using demonizing rhetoric like referring to farmworkers as "slaves" and farmers as "slave owners," etc.

Stay tuned for more enlightening Richard Witt facts…