Activism Roundup

How to take action this week

Farmworkers and advocates in Whatcom County are mourning and organizing after the tragic death of 28-year-old Honesto Silva Ibarra, a worker on a blueberry farm outside Sumas, WA. Seventy workers hired through the “guest worker” (H2A visa) program were fired for “insubordination” when they stopped work for one day to push for safer working conditions. Many of the fired workers are Mexican nationals who are now stranded with no jobs, no work visas, and no way to get back home.

Here is how you can help the workers in Sumas fight for justice, and why this matters to anti-violence advocates everywhere:

  • Migrant workers are vulnerable to abusive labor practices in the same ways that immigrant survivors are vulnerable to abusive partners. Employers hold immense power over workers’ livelihood and legal status. That makes it difficult and often risky to complain about poor working conditions, or report abuse and harassment on the job.
  • When immigrants are marginalized and threatened, our whole community is endangered. The threat of detention and deportation keeps victims from turning to law enforcement for help, and abusive partners commonly use that fear to further isolate and control victims. When victims are afraid to turn to law enforcement and community resources, all of our safety is at risk.
  • Workers’ rights = immigrant rights = women’s rights = human rights. We cannot have safety and justice for survivors without justice and safety for migrant workers.

Take action:

  1. Support the workers fired from Sarbanand Farms
  • Contact Munger Farms (Sarbanand is a subsidiary of Munger)
  • Call 661-725-6458 (then dial 9, then dial 686)
  • Talking Points:
    • Renew all workers’ visas.
    • Immediately pay wages owed to displaced workers. Sending paychecks to Mexico is NOT adequate.
    • Pay airfare for any workers wishing to return to Mexico.
  1. Attend a Dignity Vigil to stand in solidarity with undocumented and immigrant workers and families organized by Keep Bellingham Families Working.

Monday, August 14th

11:30 AM – 1:30 PM at Bellingham City Hall

and

5:00 – 6:00 PM at the Bellingham downtown bus station

  1. Donate to Community to Community Development and Familias Unidas por la Justicia. These organizations are doing grassroots work on the ground every day to organize for farmworker rights, and support survivors of domestic violence.
  1. Follow Community to Community Development and Familias Unidas por la Justicia on Facebook to keep up-to-date on what immediate support is needed.
  1. Get more information on how to support immigrant survivors.

Permitiendo a otros dirigir el camino (Letting others lead the way)

El año pasado, tuve la oportunidad de trabajar con un grupo de trabajadores agrícolas inmigrantes latinos para crear una novela corta para la radio que crearía conciencia sobre la violencia sexual en los campos.

Todo el proyecto fue una gran experiencia de aprendizaje para mí. Me dí cuenta de que yo estaba allí para de verdad escuchar, ser una aliada, y dejar que ellos dirigieran éste proyecto. Me volví muy consciente de que si mi organización quería hacer algo útil y eficaz, tenía que permitirle a este grupo enseñarnos lo que se necesitaba para desarrollar un buen mensaje.

Después de muchas largas conversaciones sobre las necesidades de su comunidad, éste increíble grupo de hombres creó un mensaje de solidaridad y de paz declarando que la violencia sexual no es aceptable bajo ninguna condición.

Este proyecto fue el ejemplo perfecto de una buena colaboración. Las intercesoras de varios programas rurales de violencia doméstica nos ofrecieron sus comentarios y el conocimiento para iniciar esta conversación. Después, un grupo de hombres salieron de su zona de confort, abrieron sus corazones, y nos dieron la oportunidad de aprender de ellos y con ellos.

Este es el resultado de su proyecto, su visión, y su creatividad: una novela corta de radio en español con un manual de cómo poderla utilizar para crear conciencia sobre la violencia sexual en los campos. Es también una invitación a otros trabajadores agrícolas a ser parte de poner fin a la violencia contra las mujeres.

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Last year, I had the opportunity to work with a group of Latino immigrant farmworkers to create a radio novela that would bring awareness of sexual violence in the fields.

The whole project was a great learning experience for me. I realized that I was there to really listen, be an ally, and let them lead the project. I became very aware that if my organization wanted to do something useful and powerful, I needed to step out of the way and let this group teach us what was needed to get a good message across.

After many long conversations about their community’s needs, this amazing group of men created a message of solidarity and peace that clearly conveyed that sexual violence is not acceptable under any conditions.

This project was the perfect example of collaborative work. Advocates from many different rural domestic violence programs provided their input and knowledge on how to initiate the conversation. Then, a group of men stepped out of their comfort zone, opened their hearts, and gave us the opportunity to learn from and with them.

Here is the result of their project, their vision, and their creativity: a radio novela in Spanish with a manual on how it can be used to create awareness of sexual violence in the fields. It is also an invitation to other male farmworkers to be a part of ending violence against women.

La unión hace la fuerza (United we are strong)

La unión hace la fuerza. Esta frase me ayuda a concentrarme en la meta trabajando para eliminar la violencia contra las mujeres. El mundo lo veo a través de esta frase y sela diferencia que hace nuestra energía colectiva. Algunos ejemplos:

  • Los trabajadores agrícolas de Sakuma Berry Farms querían mejores condiciones de trabajo y lograron con éxito su meta al organizarse;
  • VAWA se volvió a autorizar el año pasado, con protecciones para todos los sobrevivientes, entre ellos los inmigrantes, indígenas y  LGBTQ debido a que el compromiso de las consejeras alrededor de la nación fue con todas las sobrevivientes no con un grupo en específico;
  • HB1840, la cual limita el acceso de armas de fuego a los abusadores, se aprobó por unanimidad en nuestra legislatura estatal después de que consejeras y supervivientes se unieron a hablar.

Todo esto no sucedió por arte de magia. Son sólo algunos ejemplos de lo importante que es trabajar juntos para lograr un objetivo específico. ¡Podemos hacerlo! Los cambios son posibles, los cambios son reales, y los buenos cambios puede suceder si nos unimos y organizamos.bigfishlittlefish

Yo soy parte del movimiento en contra de la violencia doméstica, soy parte de un movimiento que quiere poner fin a la violencia y traer la paz, la igualdad y las oportunidades para todos, independientemente de nuestro sexo, raza, etnia, o clase. Cada acción que tomo a diario, me recuerda mi compromiso, de que no estoy sola en esta lucha soy parte de algo más grande.

Te invito a que me acompañes en la creación o en ser parte de algo significativo, que mueva tu corazón, y te haga sentir parte de algo más grande que tú. Ser parte de algo que hace que nuestro mundo, el tuyo y el mío, un mejor lugar.

WSCADV esta organizando la caminata de Refuse To Abuse® 5K en el Safeco Field el próximo 19 de julio. Este es un evento donde nos reunimos por un objetivo común, para inspirarnos juntos y recordar que la violencia doméstica se puede prevenir y que juntos podemos de manera active crear paz. ¡Únete a nosotros! ¡La unión hace la fuerza!

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“La unión hace la fuerza.” (United we are strong.) This Spanish quote helps me focus on the goal in my work to end violence against women. I see the world through this lens and know that our collective energy makes a difference. For example:

  • Farmworkers at Sakuma Berry Farms wanted better work conditions and successfully organized to achieve their goal;
  • VAWA was reauthorized last year, with protections for all survivors, including immigrant, Native, and LGBTQ people,  due to the commitment of advocates around the nation to all survivors not just one specific group;
  • HB1840, limiting abusers’ access to guns, unanimously passed our state legislature after advocates and survivors spoke up together.

None of these happened magically. They are examples of how important it is to work together towards a specific goal. We can do it! Changes are possible, changes are real, and good changes CAN happen if we organize and unite.

I am part of the domestic violence movement; I am part of a movement that wants to end violence and bring peace, equality, and opportunities for all regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, or class. Every action I take on a daily basis, I remind myself of my commitment, that I am not alone, and that I am part of something bigger.

I invite you to join me in creating or being part of something meaningful, that moves your heart, and makes you feel part of something bigger than yourself. Be part of something that makes our world, yours and mine, a better place.

WSCADV is hosting the Refuse To Abuse®  5K at Safeco Field onJuly 19th. This is a time where we come together, for a common goal, and inspire one another with the knowledge that domestic violence is preventable and together we can proactively create peace. Come join us! United we are strong!

“Happy workers mean happy apples”*

Do you know where your fruit is grown? Who picked that fruit? How it gets to the grocery stores?

We all know farmworkers face a tough working environment. On top of that, they often deal with labor exploitation, domestic violence, and sexual harassment―both in the fields and in the temporary housing that growers may provide.

I recently had the privilege to visit Broetje Orchards. We were given a gracious tour and educated about how they support their workers. They know that their workers are experiencing domestic violence and sexual assault on their land. So they have created a strong partnership with the YWCA of Walla Walla, inviting advocates onto their property. This is giving farmworkers and their families access to the information and support they need. We asked a Broetje employee why they go out of their way to do this. Her response was, “because it’s the right thing to do!”

So how about that? The Broetje family is changing the landscape―and not just with their apples.

*I heard this mantra repeated often during my visit to Broetje Orchards.