By Bill Boyarsky for Truthdig. Immigrant justice organizers skills are being tested as ICE officers prowl courthouses, day labor centers, school areas and knock on home doors. ICE personnel also stop cars, demanding passports from Latinos and threatening to arrest anyone without them. The young dreamers in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the others live in fear of deportation. More empowered than before, the immigrants, documented and undocumented, are saying no to Donald Trump and his immigration cops. Their history includes the young men who resisted in the Zoot Suit riots in 1943 as well as the red-shirted Justice For Janitors strikers in the ’90s. Constituting a new chapter are today’s high school students making a video on how to resist ICE. All of them are an inspiring part of the American story.
By Alexa Strabuk for Yes! Magazine - On a dusty Thursday evening, a couple hundred yards across the railroad tracks from old town Delano, California, Roger Gadiano ambles out of his one-story house to conduct his usual tour. The gray-haired Filipino man grew up in Delano and can tell you not only his own story but also the story of a small, seemingly prosaic agricultural town. He hops into his aging pickup and points out passing landmarks that any outsider might consider bleak and forgotten: a rundown grocery store, a vacant lot, the second story of an old motel.
By Emma Torres for Equal Voice. I was only 15 years old when my family became involved in the huelga (strike) in California. My parents, aunts and uncles provided meals to hundreds of Chavistas who stopped at our town of Soledad, Calif. during their marches. My siblings and I had no idea how witnessing those historical moments would change our lives. We did not yet understand that we were inheriting the legacy of our humble and hard-working parents. But the idea of being in la lucha – the struggle to achieve social justice – stuck in our minds as we listened to a man who looked like us shout that we were worthy human beings who deserved better wages, better working conditions, portable toilets, clean drinking water and respect. That was something I had not heard before and have never since forgotten.
There has been social policies that have led to a very, very significant reduction of poverty and to greater degree of equality. Venezuela's not today an particularly equal society, but it's the least unequal in all of Latin America, which is the most unequal continent in the world. So that's not saying that much, but there has been a significant reduction of inequality. There has been a really significant transformation of popular political culture. And this is probably the most important thing that's happened over [incompr.] years. For most of the Venezuelan popular sectors, the political system was alien. It's something that they'd just given up hope on. They felt totally marginalized. They felt that they had no participation, no involvement, that the political system wasn't responding to their needs. And that has changed dramatically. People feel empowered. People feel like they can self-organize to get things done. They feel like they have a possibility of a say in their own lives. And that's huge, and that's really, I'd say, the most important thing that has happened over those years. The level of political participation and political organization in Venezuela can't compare with anything previously existing in Venezuela. There's a widespread level of grassroots organizations around health, around water, around educational issues about--. So that's--those are all huge gains.
one Mexican actor-turned-director has made Chavez’s life the subject of a new film – opening in theaters across America this Friday, March 28 – which, for him, was both a cause to educate himself and an invitation to resolve Chavez’s legacy. “I knew his name and that he was an activist, and part of the movement that had something to do with the farm workers in California,” said director Diego Luna, who starred most recently alongside Matt Damon in last year's dystopian sci-fi film Elysium. “But I didn’t know what they had achieved, and what he represents. Once I realized there was no film that celebrated his legacy, he became a necessity and it became my priority.” Luna, who also had a role in the 2008 film Milk, about the life of gay San Francisco politician and activist Harvey Milk, said he took extensive input from the family of Chavez in writing the script.
Many other workers along Walmart’s supply chain have followed suit and called on the company to address working conditions. In 2012, Mexican guestworkers at a Walmart-contracted crawfish processing plant in Louisiana went on strike after being beaten and required to work 24-hour shifts. They were threatened with deportation if they spoke up and faced what the New York Times described as “forced labor on American shores.” Walmart attempted to cover up the abuse and falsely claimed they were “unable to substantiate” the workers’ allegations. But thanks to the workers — no doubt emboldened by César Chávez and the history of farmworker justice — the contractor was eventually found guilty for willful violations of labor law and fined by the Department of Labor.