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.
- 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.
- 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
5:00 – 6:00 PM at the Bellingham downtown bus station
- 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.
- Follow Community to Community Development and Familias Unidas por la Justicia on Facebook to keep up-to-date on what immediate support is needed.
- Get more information on how to support immigrant survivors.