Chavez film screened in Merced

Farmworkers’ health needs and the limited health care options for undocumented immigrants will be addressed tonight at a panel discussion and film screening event.

Building Healthy Communities South Merced and the Merced Organizing Project will screen the 2014 biopic “Cesar Chavez” at the UA Regency 7, 635 Fairfield Drive.

The film will follow a panel presentation from three community activists: Chakirina Gama, a local farmworker; Luis Cisneros, an undocumented UC Merced student; and Claritia Cortez, United Farm Workers Foundation coordinator. The event begins at 6 p.m.

Tonight’s presentation is part of the California Endowment’s “Health4All” campaign, an effort that seeks to call attention to the lack of affordable health coverage for Californians who are excluded from the Affordable Care Act because of their immigration status.

Crissy Gallardo, a community organizer with MOP, said the event is an opportunity to raise awareness on an issue that affects so many families in Merced and the rest of the Central Valley.

“A lot of our farmworkers are undocumented, so they don’t have many options when it comes to health coverage,” Gallardo said.

“(At tonight’s event) we’ll be learning more about the work that Cesar Chavez started, but also calling for folks to begin organizing in the community,” Gallardo said. “The health needs of our farmworkers are not being met and we believe low-cost health care coverage is a right they deserve – this is the message we want to share with our community.”

Gallardo said the goal is to push for the creation of a low-income health program for the undocumented population in the state.

Currently, undocumented Californians are not eligible for most Medi-Cal benefits, and cannot purchase health insurance through Covered California, the state’s online exchange.