Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Spirit of Cesar Chavez Will Never Die!

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A couple of months ago thousands of us stood with the United Farm Workers Union (UFW) to ask Governor Jerry Brown to pass the Fair Treatment for Farm Workers Act. But Gov. Brown didn't listen to us. Instead, he vetoed the act.

So what is the UFW doing now to make sure Gov. Brown listens? Walking—the same thing Cesar Chávez did many times when he gained the support of the nation. The UFW is currently on a 13-day, 200 mile march to Sacramento, CA. If you can't join them on the actual march1, the UFW is asking you to join them in a virtual march for the Fair Treatment for Farm Workers Act, and a bill that would give farm workers the right to overtime after and 8-hour workday.2

Farm labor is consistently listed as one of ten most dangerous jobs in the U.S.3 Last time we wrote you about the Fair Treatment For Farm Workers Act we told you the story of 17 year-old María Isabel. After picking grapes in the hot California sun for nine hours, she was rushed to the hospital in a coma and a body temperature of 108 degrees. The nearest water cooler was a 10-minute walk away, but workers say the strict foreman didn't allow them a long enough break to stop and get a drink. She died two days later.4 

That's why farm workers like Maria Escutia, who has been picking grapes for 10 years, have decided to march the full 13 days. When asked why she said: "I am doing this because I am very upset. I believe we work in dangerous conditions, in the heat, in the cold and I believe we deserve to be treated better without being intimidated at work; we deserve the right to have benefits. We deserve this and more." Will you stand with farm workers like Maria Escutia during their march and sign this petition?

Gov. Brown stood with Cesar Chávez when he was governor, before, can you help give him the courage to stand with his spirit again?

Thanks y ¡Adelante!
Laurie, Felipe, Kyle, Favianna, Roberto, Carlos and the rest of the team

1. Capitol Rally - Fair Treatment for Farm Workers Now, United Farm Workers, 9/6/2011

2. Farm workers are marching to Sacramento. Join Them Virtually, United Farm Workers,

3. Think Again: Is Farm Work Funny, Mr. Colbert, Center for American Progress, 09/30/2010

4. Teen Farmworker's Heat Death Sparks Outcry, National Public Radio

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Get Educated About Unjust Deportations!

Dear Activist,

More than 20,000 members have called on President Obama to end the dangerous Secure Communities (S-COMM) program, after his Administration’s decision to aggressively expand the use of local police officers as immigration agents.

Already, we’re helping make an impact together. The New York Times just ran an editorial saying that S-Comm, “has been plagued since its inception by miscommunication, deception, opacity and suspicion …a program whose plug desperately needs pulling.”1 The Los Angeles Times editorial board similarly told Obama to “Shelve Secure Communities.” 2

In Boston, the city where S-Comm got it’s start, Mayor Tom Menino now wants the program out, stating, “People will start to say the police are gestapos. My police aren’t gestapos.”3 Many more community organizations led by the National Day Labor Organizing Network are set to protest S-Comm at ICE forums around the country.4 The National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights is leading a national call-in day to the White House against S-Comm. 5 This is exactly the kind of massive outcry needed to tell the Obama administration that 1 million deportations is enough! ¡Ya basta!

— from Favianna, Felipe, Carlos, Roberto, Laurie and everyone else from the team.

Here's more background information:

1. “The Widening Dragnet," New York Times, 08/14/2011

2. “Shelve Secure Communities,” Los Angeles Times, 08/12/2011

3. “Resistance Widens To Obama Initiative on Criminal Immigrants,” New York Times, 08/13/2011

4. NDLON/Turning the Tide event page,

5. NNIRR Action Alert,

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