On Friday afternoon, Julian Araujo, a 19-year-old Lompoc native and starter for the LA Galaxy, was scanning social media when he saw something.
What Araujo saw moved him to use his voice, which isn't exactly new for the young defender.
"I want to use my platform to bring attention to the grueling conditions and low pay that our field workers are experiencing every day," Araujo tweeted on Friday, Aug. 21. "If anyone has any further information on ways that I can help, please reach out. These men & women deserve better."
St. Joseph High, which has yet to resume in-school instruction, reopened its campus to athletes on Monday, though all activities were held outdoors. For instance, basketball players were seen training on the school's tennis courts. Lompoc schools hope to start athletic activities by Sept. 8. Santa Maria public schools have yet to get approval to resume.
Araujo sent that message in response to a video posted on Twitter that showed agricultural workers harvesting grapes in 90-plus degree weather with smoke billowing in the background from a nearby wildfire.
The teenager, who has played for the United States youth national teams and will likely join the senior team in the near future, has already found ways to help support workers. He spent the summer championing the value of those who harvest the fruits and vegetables that feed large parts of the world.
Araujo's father, a native of Mexico, first found work in the United States as an agricultural worker. This summer, as the pandemic had forced many to work remotely, Araujo organized meals to feed those who couldn't work from home.
Araujo's mother, Lupe, has helped deliver those meals on behalf of her son, donating food to Central Coast farmworkers, health-care workers and school workers.
"What made me want to do this was knowing that my dad came from Mexico to give his family a better living at a very young age and his first job here in the States was working at the fields," Araujo told the Times in June after organizing meals for farmworkers. "I know many of those men and women might come from Mexico and they pour their heart out to give the best to their family. People don’t realize what they go through and the importance of their work. They work when the sun comes up, till the sun goes down, so that we are able to have our fresh foods.
"I truly do appreciate everything they do. And without them, we all wouldn’t live the same."
Araujo's push for improved working conditions did not cause his level of play to drop. In fact, the day after his social media post, which received over 5,000 likes on Twitter, Araujo had one of the best games of his Galaxy career.
Araujo assisted on both goals in his team's 2-0 win over rival LAFC Saturday night. Araujo was nominated for the MLS Player of the Week award and was named to the MLS Team of the Week, along with teammate Cristian Pavon. Seattle's Rui Diaz eventually won the Player of the Week award.
Schlemer is the second nominee for the Santa Maria Times' Player of the Decade award for girls basketball, joining the first, Erin Jenkins of Cabrillo High. The list of nominees is compiled by the sports staff at the Times, Lompoc Record and Santa Ynez Valley News, which is polling current and former coaches and researching individual and team accolades. Players in graduating classes from 2010-2020 are eligible.
Araujo, usually a right back, has been playing more on the right wing for the Galaxy lately. He assisted Ethan Zubak from the wing for a headed-in goal and later found Sebastian Lletget with another cross from the wing for the Galaxy's second goal in the 2-0 win.
Araujo also visited Twitter after the win: "Huge performance from the team today," he wrote. "Very proud of the group. Now we recharge and focus for Wednesday’s match!!!"
The Galaxy are scheduled to play Seattle at 8 p.m. PT in Los Angeles Wednesday.
The right-hander would go on to star in the youth baseball ranks and eventually at Santa Maria High School, where he graduated in 1973. Smith then pitched with the Hancock College Bulldogs before signing with the Baltimore Orioles in 1974.
Duffy to miss scheduled start
After winning his last two starts, former Cabrillo High ace Danny Duffy will miss his next scheduled start, according to Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com.
Duffy felt some arm fatigue late in his outing Saturday night, according to media reports. Duffy threw 81 pitches on Saturday against the Twins, giving up just one earned run while striking out six. He's 2-2 on the season with a 3.99 ERA.
Duffy may still draw some interest in the trade market. He has one more year and $15 million left on a five-year $65-million deal he signed in January of 2017. The MLB trade deadline is Monday, Aug. 31. The earliest Duffy will start again is Friday, according to Flanagan.
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