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By late morning it was already hot, but not nearly as scorching as it would be in just a few hours. Lourdes Cardenas, 59, had already walked nearly eight dusty, sun-blasted miles from Turlock, with about that many more to go to the day’s destination in downtown Modesto.
At break time, a mariachi in full regalia began to play, and Cardenas sank into a chair set up under a shade structure, gathered up creams and bandages, and bent over her blistered, swollen feet.
She did not, however, consider stopping.
Cardenas, an immigrant from Mexico who has worked in California’s fields for decades, is among a small group of farmworkers who, for the first time in nearly 30 years, are marching 335 miles from the UFW’s headquarters near Delano to the state Capitol.