In the mid–twentieth century many California growers required their field workers to use the short-handled hoe to thin and weed crops such as lettuce and sugar beets. With only an eight to eighteen-inch handle, this tool could be used only in a stooped position. Over time, such stooping caused chronic back pain and, often, debilitating back injuries. In 1970 Latino activist Cesar Chavez implored Maurice Jourdane, a young lawyer of the California Rural Legal Assistance, to find a way to outlaw the tool. For the next four years, Jourdane and his supervisor, Martin Glick, worked to do just this. Despite opposition from growers and the bias of California officials, they eventually convinced the state government that the tool could and should be replaced with the regular long hoe. Through this case, many California leaders and citizens came to consider more seriously the physical wellbeing of Latino workers.

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