Archive for the ‘Food politics’ Category

A report released yesterday by Human Rights Watch, Cultivating Fear, describes how deeply vulnerable immigrant farm worker women are to sexual harassment and assault:

This 95-page report describes rape, stalking, unwanted touching, exhibitionism, or vulgar and obscene language by supervisors, employers, and others in positions of power. Most farmworkers interviewed said they had experienced such treatment or knew others who had. And most said they had not reported these or other workplace abuses, fearing reprisals. Those who had filed sexual harassment claims or reported sexual assault to the police had done so with the encouragement and assistance of survivor advocates or attorneys in the face of difficult challenges.

The report is full of horrifying – if unsurprising for those of us who have worked with farm worker women – stories of assault, and repeated abuse at the hands of employers or people in positions of power on the job, often using their immigration status as a tool of control and abuse. Additionally, farm workers often depend on their employers not only for their jobs but also their housing and transportation, creating a number of opportunities for abuse and control for vulnerable women.

This report comes out just as Congress voted for a Violence Against Women Act that is deeply hostile to immigrant women, eliminating critical protections for undocumented survivors of abuse.


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Given the current anti-immigrant climate in the U.S., it comes as no surprise that an Alabama federal judge upheld many provisions of that state’s new immigration legislation, which takes Arizona’s SB 1070 and raises it a few rights-limiting provisions. And while much of the abhorrent legislation was allowed to stand, it is hard to tell for now whether the judge’s reservation of judgment on numerous provisions—and reservation of implementation in the interim—is a good or bad sign for immigrants. What does seem clear, though, is that on the state and federal level alike, there is confusion not about the state of the economy (after all, who could be confused about that?), but about what immigrants’ contribution has been, is, and should be. A close look reveals that Alabama’s economy depends on the work of immigrants, and that the state’s new legislation will have high dollar costs to the state as well as high human costs to the immigrant population.

There appears to be general consensus that the U.S. needs to shift its economic focus in order to try to regain the economic might of a bygone era—in other words, skilled is the name of the game. But Alabama’s approach has looked backward instead of forward, cutting off immigrants’ access to many educational opportunities, effectively blocking the growth of a skilled workforce, and arguably placing a huge roadblock in the road to economic recovery and growth.


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By Stephanie Rodriguez, Policy Intern

I remember getting in line as a third grader for school lunch and looking forward to having some yummy chocolate milk. As a kid I knew that milk was supposed to be good for me. Now that I am older I realized that the milk in our public schools is not as healthy as I previously believed. With the flavoring and the added sugar it turns out to be almost the equivalent of a glass of soda.

This is just one example of the problems found in the school lunch programs with oversights in the nutrition standards. That is why Michelle Obama has been a strong proponent of passing the Child Nutrition Bill and has been advocating for it all year. Through her campaign to raise a healthier generation of kids she has gathered supports from different coalitions across the nation. Now that the bill has finally been approved by Congress and is on its way to being signed by President Obama. When the bill is enacted it would affect the lives of 31.2 million children who participate in the federally funded school lunch program.


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