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Placeholder Image photo credit: Noah Abrams/KRCB
Max Bell Alper speaking to the crowd at the end
of Saturday's march and rally.

Farmworkers took to the streets this past weekend, calling for disaster pay in a lively demonstration past the high-end Healdsburg event.

"Ole ole ole!" Rang the chants. "Si se Puede!"

Close to 200 marchers circled Saturday outside the Healdsburg Food and Wine Experience.

That's an annual festival showcasing the food, wine, and chefs of Sonoma County - tickets cost between $190 and $3,900.

The march was the latest action from organizing group North Bay Jobs with Justice - part of their campaign to win disaster pay for vineyard and agriculture workers in Sonoma County.

Workers like Sandra de Leon, who spoke via interpreter:

"We also see more vineyards. We see more wealth, the rich are getting richer based on our labor," de Leon said. "So it's really important that we actually march that we're seen in a town like Healdsburg."

Healdsburg Mayor Ariel Kelley told the crowd the city is listening to the needs of farm workers.

City council member Chris Herrod also spoke in support.

"Affordable housing, also affordable childcare, our universal basic income plan that are doing a lot to help workers in this city," Herrod said. "But really there's a lot that needs to be done right now. There's too much income disparity, and it's up to all of us to join in and help out and get this done."

Wine and Food Experience founder Steve Devris said he was puzzled by the march.

"The thing that's hard for me to understand is we are literally raising money for farm workers," Devris said. "And Friday, yesterday we had a barbecue. The money we raised for them, we started a leadership academy to fly people to Washington, DC."

Organizers say some proceeds from the Healdsburg Food and Wine Experience will go towards the Sonoma County Grape Growers Foundation, an industry group which also helps provide worker support services.

Jobs with Justice director Max Bell-Alper punctuated the end of the march.

"They have a lot of money, but we have something more powerful than money," Bell Alper said. "Without the hands, all of us, they cannot make any of this wealth."

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