Young Immigrants Fight for a Place, and for Access to Health Care

“Thousands of young people throughout California can only dream about health care. They want to live healthy responsible lives. But that’s hard to do when you can’t see a doctor or you don’t have health insurance.

Check out this 60 second video, “Dreaming of Healthcare.” We made it in partnerships with a group of young Californians. They’re all undocumented. Technically that means they’re not US citizens. But we think they couldn’t be more Californian.

California should not be a place that says some young people deserve health care and some don’t. Access to screenings and checkups helps people prevent problems before they start. When health care includes everyone, and we mean everyone, that keeps us all healthy. We’re in this together.

Check out #Health4all and help us spread the word that California’s health depends on everyone. Everyone. Learn more about us at http://www.calendow.org”
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Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies – A Doctor’s Journey among Migrant Farmworkers

Editor’s Note: After spending two years among indigenous farm workers in Mexico and in labor camps in the United States, medical anthropologist Dr. Seth M. Holmes documents how market forces, anti-immigrant sentiment and racism undermine their health and access to health care in his book, Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies: Migrant Farmworkers in the United States. He spoke to NAM Health Editor Viji Sundaram.

NAM: Did you set out on this project as a purely anthropological endeavor, but which later changed into something more?

Holmes: Yes, as I said in my book, I set out as an anthropologist to do the classic field research method of participant observation with migrant farmworkers. I wanted to learn about indigenous Mexicans who come to the United States to work on our farms, about their health issues, and about how this group of people is perceived.

NAM: So how closely did you observe the indigenous farm workers?

Holmes: I started this research in rural Washington State, living in a labor camp and picking strawberries and blueberries along with them. We next moved to the Central Valley of California, to Madera, where we first lived homeless for a week in our cars, until we found a slum apartment willing to rent to people without a credit history. In Central California, we were not able to find much work; we pruned vineyards very intermittently. After California, I moved with them to their home village in the mountains of Oaxaca, Mexico, and lived in a partially constructed concrete home built piece-meal with money sent by relatives in Madera and Washington State.
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Food Movement: Another “Sleeping Giant” Awakens on Immigration Reform

By Navina Khanna, Joann Lo and Cathi Tactaquin on February 11, 2013

What do food banks, food chain workers, and Dreamers all have in common? The answer, when it comes to immigration, is just about everything.

Today, our misguided immigration policies prevent us from providing healthy and sustainable food for all families, from upholding basic standards of human and labor rights within our food systems, and from creating opportunities for healthy communities for all children. In fact, America’s food system cannot thrive without fair, just, and humane immigration reform.

If you care about food, then you’ll be cheering that after years of organizing and advocacy in immigrant and progressive sectors, immigration reform frameworks emerging from Washington include a path towards citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
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COMMON GROUND ON THE KILL FLOOR – ORGANIZING SMITHFIELD by David Bacon

Interviews and Photos by David Bacon

Labornote website

http://labornotes.org/blogs/2012/04/common-ground-kill-floor-organizing-smithfield

Keith Ludlum and Terry Slaughter are two slaughterhouse workers who helped organize the union at the Smithfield Foods plant in Tar Heel, North Carolina. Here they tell the story of the way African American, white and Mexican immigrant workers were able to find common ground in that campaign, and how the company used immigration enforcement to try to defeat them. The original interviews have been edited into narrative form by David Bacon.

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Politics of the Plate: The Price of Tomatoes by Barry Easterbrook

Working at breakneck speed, you might be able to pick a ton of tomatoes on a good day, netting about $50 at 45 cents per 32-pound basket. But a lot can go wrong.

Driving from Naples, Florida, the nation’s second-wealthiest metropolitan area, to Immokalee takes less than an hour on a straight road. You pass houses that sell for an average of $1.4 million, shopping malls anchored by Tiffany’s and Saks Fifth Avenue, manicured golf courses. Eventually, gated communities with names like Monaco Beach Club and Imperial Golf Estates give way to modest ranches, and the highway shrivels from six lanes to two. Through the scruffy palmettos, you glimpse flat, sandy tomato fields shimmering in the broiling sun. Rounding a long curve, you enter Immokalee. The heart of town is a nine-block grid of dusty, potholed streets lined by boarded-up bars and bodegas, peeling shacks, and sagging, mildew-streaked house trailers. Mongrel dogs snooze in the shade, scrawny chickens peck in yards. Just off the main drag, vultures squabble over roadkill. Immokalee’s population is 70 percent Latino. Per capita income is only $8,500 a year. One third of the families in this city of nearly 25,000 live below the poverty line. Over one third of the children drop out before graduating from high school.

Immokalee is the tomato capital of the United States. Between December and May, as much as 90 percent of the fresh domestic tomatoes we eat come from south Florida, and Immokalee is home to one of the area’s largest communities of farmworkers. According to Douglas Molloy, the chief assistant U.S. attorney based in Fort Myers, Immokalee has another claim to fame: It is “ground zero for modern slavery.”

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