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California EJ Communities Bear Brunt of Bad Policies
By Eric K. Arnold
At the Paris climate summit, California Governor Jerry Brown played up his reputation as a progressive visionary—one of America’s most experienced politicians on environmental issues. He met with world leaders, did a photo-op with Arnold Schwarzenegger, and gave a speech to graduate students about climate awareness, saying, “we’re talking about a different kind of life, a life not based on oil, and a life not based on so much emphasis on the individual as opposed to the common good.”1
Events in recent years have triggered a reawakening across the United States of a movement that acknowledges the importance of worker rights and of protecting the livelihoods of this country’s working class. Historically, however, one group of workers has routinely been excluded from the gains made by the larger labor movement, i.e. farmworkers—the people who weed, pick, harvest, and pack, often in 100 degree weather, while routinely being exposed to hazardous chemicals.
Approximately 700,000 farmworkers reside in California at any given time. Farm employment is unstable and the average farmworker is employed for only seven months of the year (nine months in California). For female workers the employment season is even shorter. Jobs are scarce, even during high season. In California, about 350,000 jobs are available from April to October and 275,000 from November to March. Historically, migrant workers returned home during the winter months. However, with the increased militarization of the border, this practice has become harder and many migrants remain in the U.S. out of fear even in the rainy season when they have little or no income. And although a majority of farmworkers are male, women and children are increasingly crossing the border and entering the workforce, as men can no longer maintain a seasonal migration.
Excerpts from a panel discussion with Jodie Geddes, Rose Elizondo and Garry “Malachi” Scott, moderated by Lisa Dettmer.
Contemporary restorative justice practices, which arose in the early 1980s, focus on healing and transforming the wounds of victims, offenders, and the community caused or revealed by the wrongdoing.
By Jahmese Myres with John Jones III
When John and I first met in 2014, I was working with Lift Up Oakland, a coalition of community and labor organizations leading a ballot initiative that would raise Oakland’s minimum wage to one of the highest in the country and provide sick time to all workers. John was working as a security guard at a fast food restaurant downtown and had recently been released after spending one-third of his life in prison. He was committed to creating a stable home for his son, and we bonded over a shared belief that obtaining a good job is a critical component of realizing this commitment.
By Carolina S. Sarmiento
On January 18th, 2017, three days before Donald Trump assumed the presidency, Santa Ana, California enacted a law making it a sanctuary city. Santa Ana is Orange County’s second largest city, but stands in sharp contrast to the white affluent and conservative portrait that is most often represented in the media. Unlike larger cities like Los Angeles and New York that are also at the forefront of the sanctuary movement, Santa Ana is a mid-sized city with approximately 350,000 people, of which over 85 percent identified as Latino in the US Census. It stands out as one of the largest Mexican and immigrant cities and despite the county’s Republican political history, Santa Ana has an all-Latino all-Democratic Party city council.