+ ++ Latina Lista: News from the Latino perspective http://latinalista.com News from the Latino perspective Tue, 05 Jan 2016 20:51:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v= Crowdfunder: Four Friends, One Mission — Bringing Clean Water to Latin American Families http://latinalista.com/new-headline/crowdfunder-four-friends-one-mission-bringing-clean-water-to-latin-american-families Tue, 05 Jan 2016 20:51:46 +0000 http://latinalista.com/?p=35094 Latina Lista: News from the Latino perspective Latina Lista: News from the Latino perspective - News from the Latino perspective. Crowdfunder: Four Friends, One Mission — Bringing Clean Water to Latin American Families by Latina Lista

LatinaLista —  Campaign: The Water Van Project Diego, Coke, Chechu and Edu are four childhood friends who wanted to make a difference in the lives of poor Latin Americans who are dying because they have no access to clean water. According to their research, over 100,000 people die every year in Latin America due to […]

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Latina Lista: News from the Latino perspective Latina Lista: News from the Latino perspective - News from the Latino perspective. Crowdfunder: Four Friends, One Mission — Bringing Clean Water to Latin American Families by Latina Lista

LatinaLista — 

Campaign: The Water Van Project

Diego, Coke, Chechu and Edu are four childhood friends who wanted to make a difference in the lives of poor Latin Americans who are dying because they have no access to clean water. According to their research, over 100,000 people die every year in Latin America due to water contamination and every 18 seconds a child dies in less developed areas because there is a lack of clean water.

The four friends, who have taken a short leave from their professional pursuits, want to raise global awareness about this important issue while helping bring clean water to those who need it the most. So, they are undertaking an ambitous mission: travel over 3700 miles in six months to 9 countries, from Mexico to Peru, to bring water filters  to over 10,000 men, women and children. They've dubbed their journey the Water Van Project

They plan to work with local NGOs in providing two different kinds of water filters to those who have no access to clean water. 

They begin their journey this month (January 2016) and in addition to helping families by bringing them water filters, the four also plan to accomplish two additional goals:

Educate – Teaching communities and organizations the proper installation and maintenance processes for those filters as well as raising awareness of the water crisis in the world, how to make a more efficient use of it and the importance of sanitation.

Promote - Raise awareness about the global water crisis, and push people to get out of their comfort zone through the exposure of other social and innovative projects.

Using their own money to finance the project, the four plan to apply campaign funds towards the purchase of the water filters but are actively seeking sponsors and companies who would like to collaborate with them in exchange of advertising in the form of social and media impact, to help pay for other expenses.

The four plan to document their entire journey via photos, social media and their website. At the end of the journey, plans are to create a documentary showcasing not just the culture and diversity of Latin America but the people whose lives were changed with suddenly having access to clean water.

At the Water Van Project we believe that we all share one common goal, happiness, and in order to achieve it we must spend our time doing what really fulfill us on a daily basis. In our case, it is showing through our journey that there is no better way to travel than helping (those) who need it the most.

The campaign's goal is $26,000.

 

 

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More Mexicans are leaving the US than coming across the border http://latinalista.com/columns/blogbeat-columns/more-mexicans-are-leaving-the-us-than-coming-across-the-border Tue, 05 Jan 2016 18:25:56 +0000 http://latinalista.com/?p=35091 Latina Lista: News from the Latino perspective Latina Lista: News from the Latino perspective - News from the Latino perspective. More Mexicans are leaving the US than coming across the border by Latina Lista

By David Cook Martín The Conversation During the most recent Republican debate, Donald Trump declared “people are pouring across the southern border.” Trump is right that the United States has been a major immigrant destination since the 1960s, but if he is referring to Mexican flows today, he is wrong. According to sociologists Frank Bean and […]

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Latina Lista: News from the Latino perspective Latina Lista: News from the Latino perspective - News from the Latino perspective. More Mexicans are leaving the US than coming across the border by Latina Lista

By David Cook Martín
The Conversation

During the most recent Republican debate, Donald Trump declared “people are pouring across the southern border.”

Trump is right that the United States has been a major immigrant destination since the 1960s, but if he is referring to Mexican flows today, he is wrong.

According to sociologists Frank Bean and Gillian Stevens, Mexican migration to the United States is “the largest sustained flow of migrant workers in the contemporary world,” and Mexico is the single largest contributor of migrants to the United States since 1965.

But here’s what Trump ignores: a recent Pew Report shows that more Mexicans are leaving than coming to the United States – reversing a decades-long trend.

The main reason for the trend is family reunification, but this migration back to Mexico is not driven by nostalgia for kin. The reasons behind it are much more complex.

Hard realities

 

Walking across the US-Mexican border. Mike Blake/REUTERS

 

Mexican families have to grapple with hard economic and legal realities, and they often conclude that returning to Mexico is their best option.

The Pew Report looks at the years between 2009 and 2014. It combines Mexican survey data on the entry of Mexicans and their families – including American children – with US census data on Mexican entries to the United States. The report is designed to overcome the limitations of national statistics that typically ignore departures.

The study shows a net loss of 140,000 Mexican immigrants from the United States. One million Mexican migrants and their children left the US for Mexico, while just over 860,000 left Mexico for the United States.

While this may seem like a desirable outcome from an immigration control perspective, it may signal problems in the US economy. Among other things, it means that the children of Mexican returnees – kids who are US citizens – are leaving the country. US losses may be Mexico’s gain in a world market that rewards multilingual workers.

So what is driving this “return” migration to Mexico?

Going home again

Respondents to one of the surveys behind the Pew Report were able to check off a box that says “reunite with the family” in response to a question about “the reason for [NAME]’s return.”

Six in 10 surveyed Mexicans who lived in the United States in 2009 but in Mexico by 2014 said they were moving back to reunite with family or to start a family. But this doesn’t tell us anything about what reuniting with one’s family involves.

Research by Wayne Cornelius and colleagues concurs with the Pew Report that family reunification is an important reason for return, but also suggests that Mexicans living in the US are more likely to stay when they have good jobs.

The evidence for this claim is an upward trend in remittances from the US to Mexico between 2014 and 2015. Cornelius and his colleagues show that economic factors matter a great deal, even if they are not the only ones that matter in making migration decisions.

After all, the pull of the family has been a historical constant. Most migrants, domestic or international, pine for their relatives back home. Blues, Yiddish tango and the letters of Polish and Italian immigrants to relatives left behind are cultural expressions of this truism.

Yet missing home has not consistently driven return migration flows in the past, in the ways we’re seeing now with Mexicans. What’s driving it is changing economic, political and demographic conditions.

While “family reunification” may sound like a decidedly noneconomic rationale for return migration, it is not. Sociologists and economists have long made the case that people migrate primarily in search of economic opportunities and to diversify risks and sources of income from a familial – rather than a solely individual – standpoint.

From this perspective, it is not surprising that the lagged effects of the 2009 recession enter the decision-making progress of both individuals and families deciding whether to migrate.

Here, there and in-between

Here in the United States, we tend to focus on factors that pull immigrants into the country – like jobs and higher wages. We also look at deterrents like restrictive policies. While these are critical factors in families’ decisions about migration, the return of Mexicans may be attributable more to failures in US family reunification policy than in any intentional deterrent policy.

Currently, Mexican family preference visas are being issued with a two-decade delay. Imagine a Mexican family that planned to move to the US as a hedge against risks in the labor market and to gain access to credit markets back during the Clinton administration. A decades-long delay in getting a visa, coupled with a major recession in the US and economic improvements in Mexico, may lead to a reconsideration of these plans.

Mexico’s economy has improved dramatically in the last decade. This improvement has translated into new job opportunities within the country. Fertility rates have decreased, and the population has aged. That means there are fewer people in the age cohort most likely to migrate – those age 18 to 35. Smaller families are a trend that will not change quickly.

In addition, border enforcement and dynamics between the United States and Mexico have created dangerous crossing conditions – and a lucrative market for smugglers – that makes it more difficult for family members to come and go, and visit each other.

What does this mean for US immigration policy moving forward?

Policy implications

If we want to create policies based on empirical economic and demographic realities, our leaders need to question prescriptions based on outdated data. Despite popular sound bites from the campaign trail, Mexican immigrants are not “pouring” over the border.

Responsible policy-making must reflect new realities. Otherwise, we will spend billions to build walls and deploy surveillance technologies to keep out people who are not coming – not to mention that these strategies have rarely worked.

Our tax dollars would be better spent integrating immigrants who are already here, managing refugees, filling shortages of less skilled workers and competing for talent on a global stage.

The Conversation

David Cook Martín is Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center for International Studies at Grinnell College

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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SF Mission Organizers Debut Film on Alex Nieto Case http://latinalista.com/communitystories/west/sf-mission-organizers-debut-film-on-alex-nieto-case Tue, 05 Jan 2016 17:46:08 +0000 http://latinalista.com/?p=35087 Latina Lista: News from the Latino perspective Latina Lista: News from the Latino perspective - News from the Latino perspective. SF Mission Organizers Debut Film on Alex Nieto Case by Latina Lista

By Laura Wenus MissionLocal   The Brava Theater was adorned Sunday afternoon with a banner declaring “Amor for Alex” during the screening of a new film examining the fatal police shooting of 28-year-old Alex Nieto in 2014. Supporters of the movement to denounce the shooting walked past a string of highly polished low-riders that sat […]

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Latina Lista: News from the Latino perspective Latina Lista: News from the Latino perspective - News from the Latino perspective. SF Mission Organizers Debut Film on Alex Nieto Case by Latina Lista

By Laura Wenus
MissionLocal

 

The Brava Theater was adorned Sunday afternoon with a banner declaring “Amor for Alex” during the screening of a new film examining the fatal police shooting of 28-year-old Alex Nieto in 2014.

Supporters of the movement to denounce the shooting walked past a string of highly polished low-riders that sat outside the theater before going in for the entirely volunteer-produced half-hour film. “Low Rider Lawyers: Putting the City on Trial” imagines the jury trial in Nieto’s family’s case against the city, which is set for later this year.

Written and directed by activist and city college instructor Benjamin Bac Sierra, filmed and edited by Peter Menchini, it features prominent community members Edwin Lindo, a candidate for District 9 supervisor, organizer Adriana Camarena and Father Richard Smith.  The film retells the events leading up to Nieto’s shooting on Bernal Hill in the form of a cross-examination of witnesses by a crew of “Low Rider Lawyers,” from the Mission.  The jury is comprised of neighborhood community members.

The film begins indoors, at what appears to be a courtroom. But the cross-examination moves outdoors, and ends in a lowrider’s car in which Smith, playing an officer, is riding in the back seat behind a chain link partition. As he sits there, Bac Sierra asks him questions including why he killed Nieto and whether he is ashamed for his actions…

Finish reading SF Mission Organizers Debut Film on Alex Nieto Case

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DHS Secretary speaks out about deportation raids as children and parents are rounded up http://latinalista.com/palabrafinal/politics/dhs-secretary-speaks-out-about-deportation-raids-as-children-and-parents-are-rounded-up Mon, 04 Jan 2016 18:59:57 +0000 http://latinalista.com/?p=35082 Latina Lista: News from the Latino perspective Latina Lista: News from the Latino perspective - News from the Latino perspective. DHS Secretary speaks out about deportation raids as children and parents are rounded up by Latina Lista

LatinaLista — The White House released a statement by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh C. Johnson defending the administration's forced removal of Central American migrant families that began over the weekend. As news spread of the removals, immigrant advocates began reporting of the methods being used by Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.  The Los Angeles […]

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Latina Lista: News from the Latino perspective Latina Lista: News from the Latino perspective - News from the Latino perspective. DHS Secretary speaks out about deportation raids as children and parents are rounded up by Latina Lista

LatinaLista — The White House released a statement by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh C. Johnson defending the administration's forced removal of Central American migrant families that began over the weekend.

As news spread of the removals, immigrant advocates began reporting of the methods being used by Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. 

The Los Angeles Times reported that on Saturday in Norcross, Georgia, ICE agents arrived in an unmarked car at the home of Joanna Gutierrez. The agents presented Gutierrez with a warrant for a “black person” (una persona de la raza morena). She told the agents she didn't know anyone of that description and told the agents they couldn't enter her home without a warrant. They pushed past Gutierrez going from room to room searching not for a man but really looking for Gutierrez's niece, Ana Lizet-Mejía and her 9-year-old son.

The agents eventually found the two and took them into custody. 

Lizet-Mejía, who recently received a court order to leave the US after her asylum request was rejected, fled Honduras with her son after her brother was murdered by gang members. 

Lizet-Mejía was among the first detentions of at least 11 families across the country targeted by the government to find and deport Central American migrants who sought refuge in the U.S. but were denied asylum.

 

STATEMENT BY SECRETARY JEH C. JOHNSON ON SOUTHWEST BORDER SECURITY

 

As I have said repeatedly, our borders are not open to illegal migration; if you come here illegally, we will send you back consistent with our laws and values.

In the spring and summer of 2014 we faced a significant spike in families and unaccompanied children from Central America attempting to cross our southern border illegally. In response, we took a number of actions in collaboration with the governments of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, and the numbers declined dramatically. In Fiscal Year 2015, the number of apprehensions by U.S. Border Patrol of those attempting to cross our southern border illegally -- an indicator of total attempts to cross the border illegally -- decreased to 331,333. With the exception of one year, this was the lowest number of apprehensions on our southern border since 1972. In recent months, however, the rate of apprehensions on our southern border has begun to climb again.

In November 2014, I issued new priorities for immigration enforcement as part of the President’s immigration accountability executive actions. These new Department-wide priorities focus our enforcement resources on convicted criminals and threats to public safety. These new enforcement priorities also focus on border security, namely the removal of those apprehended at the border or who came here illegally after January 1, 2014.

We must enforce the law in accordance with these priorities, and secure our borders.

Accordingly, the Department of Homeland Security, in conjunction with our domestic and international partners, is undertaking the following actions:

Removals. Since the summer of 2014 we have removed and repatriated migrants to Central America at an increased rate, averaging about 14 flights a week. Most of those returned have been single adults.

This past weekend, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) engaged in concerted, nationwide enforcement operations to take into custody and return at a greater rate adults who entered this country illegally with children. This should come as no surprise. I have said publicly for months that individuals who constitute enforcement priorities, including families and unaccompanied children, will be removed.  

The focus of this weekend’s operations were adults and their children who (i) were apprehended after May 1, 2014 crossing the southern border illegally, (ii) have been issued final orders of removal by an immigration court, and (iii) have exhausted appropriate legal remedies, and have no outstanding appeal or claim for asylum or other humanitarian relief under our laws. As part of these operations, 121 individuals were taken into custody, primarily from Georgia, Texas, and North Carolina, and they are now in the process of being repatriated. To effect removal, most families are first being transported to one of ICE’s family residential centers for temporary processing before being issued travel documents and boarding a return flight to their home countries.  

Given the sensitive nature of taking into custody and removing families with children, a number of precautions were taken as part of this weekend’s operations. ICE deployed from around the country a number of female agents and medical personnel to take part in the operations, and, in the course of the operations, ICE exercised prosecutorial discretion in a number of cases for health or other personal reasons.

This enforcement action was overseen by Sarah Saldaña, the Director of ICE, and supported and executed by Thomas Homan, a career law enforcement official who leads ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations.

At my direction, additional enforcement operations such as these will continue to occur as appropriate.

Increasing border security.  We are continuing to enhance our border security resources and capabilities, working closely with state and local counterparts. As a result of our long-term investment in border security over the past 15 years, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has greater capability to identify and interdict illegal crossings than at any time in our Nation’s history. This includes the largest deployment of vehicles, aircraft, boats, and equipment along the southwest border in the 90-year history of the Border Patrol.  And through the Southern Border and Approaches Campaign Plan we launched in early 2015, we are for the first time putting to use in a combined and strategic way the assets and personnel of CBP, ICE, Citizenship and Immigration Services, and the Coast Guard to better protect the border.  

In response to the recent increases in migrant flows along the southwest border, CBP has deployed additional permanent Border Patrol Agents to high-traffic areas, augmented operations in South Texas with Mobile Response Teams, and redirected support from other Border Patrol sectors including through remote interviewing technology.  CBP has also increased surveillance capabilities by adding tethered aerostats (long-range radars) and other technology, along with additional aircraft. CBP will sustain these heightened border security efforts, along with the humanitarian aspects of its responsibilities, while the current migration levels persist.

Unaccompanied children. As the number of unaccompanied children crossing our southern border has risen again in recent months, DHS has continued our close coordination with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), as it increases its capacity to care for unaccompanied minors and place them with sponsors. Our goal is to ensure that CBP has the continued capability to quickly and efficiently transfer unaccompanied minors after they are apprehended to HHS custody, as is required by U.S. law. In the past month, HHS added over 1,000 beds for this purpose, and recently announced that another estimated 1,800 beds will be available soon. HHS is continuing to explore options for additional beds if necessary.

Cracking down on criminal smugglers. In the summer of 2014, the Deputy Attorney General and I announced “Operation Coyote” to crack down on those involved in the criminal smuggling of migrants from Central America and elsewhere. Since then, 1,022 smugglers and their associates have been arrested, and hundreds of bank accounts have been seized.

With the Department of Justice, we are now doubling down on these efforts. This will build on existing initiatives such as ICE’s Human Smuggling Cell, which is working with the financial industry to target and disrupt the flow of funds to human smuggling organizations. DHS’s recently formed Joint Task Forces, JTF-West and JTF-Investigations, will coordinate the deployment of additional DHS investigative and prosecutorial resources and their integration into the Department of Justice’s ongoing law enforcement and prosecution operations.

Cooperation with Mexico. We are expanding our cooperation with Mexico in dealing with illicit migration. In particular, we are working with our Mexican partners to enhance joint efforts on our shared border, to support Mexico’s efforts on its southern border, and to shut down the criminal groups and illegal support networks that exploit vulnerable migrants. DHS and the Department of State will also continue to support the Merida Initiative, the longstanding partnership between the United States and Mexico to fight organized crime and associated violence.    

Expanding the public messaging campaign. DHS and the Department of State are expanding our existing messaging campaign in Central America, Mexico, and the United States to educate those considering making the journey north, as well as their families abroad, about the dangerous realities of the journey. The messaging will also highlight the recent enforcement operations.

The Flores case. We continue to disagree with the District Court decision in the Flores case that a 1997 settlement of a case solely involving unaccompanied children now applies to children who arrive with a parent and their processing at today’s family residential centers. The decision, and the resulting injunction, significantly constrains our ability to respond to an increasing flow of illegal migration into the United States. We have appealed the decision, and the appellate court has agreed to hear the appeal on an expedited basis. Meanwhile, we have implemented significant reforms to how we operate our family residential centers to transition them to temporary processing facilities for these individuals, and have taken steps to ensure compliance with the District Court’s July 24 and August 21 orders.

Creating an alternative, safe and legal path. Finally, to effectively address this situation, we recognize that we must offer alternatives to those who are fleeing the poverty and violence in Central America. More border security and removals, by themselves, will not overcome the underlying conditions that currently exist in Central America. I am pleased that Congress, in the recently-enacted omnibus spending bill, included $750 million in aid for Central America.

In the meantime, DHS and the Department of State are accelerating the development of new mechanisms to process and screen Central American refugees in the region, about which we hope to make a more formal announcement soon. We will expand access to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program in the region and develop more legal alternatives to the dangerous and unlawful journey many are currently taking in the hands of human smugglers.

These new refugee processing mechanisms will build upon the existing Central American Minors Program, which is already providing an in-country refugee processing option for certain children with parents lawfully in the United States.  Thus far, we have received more than 6,000 applications for the Program, some children have begun to arrive in the United States as part of the Program, and we expect the pace of arrivals to increase steadily moving forward. We are also engaging other countries in the region, encouraging them to join us in broadening access to protection for refugees from Central America. 

*          *         *             *

I know there are many who loudly condemn our enforcement efforts as far too harsh, while there will be others who say these actions don’t go far enough. I also recognize the reality of the pain that deportations do in fact cause. But, we must enforce the law consistent with our priorities. At all times, we endeavor to do this consistent with American values, and basic principles of decency, fairness, and humanity ~ Sec. Jeh C. Johnson.

 

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Guest Voz: The journey to reconnect with loved ones doesn’t end for Central American migrant children when they arrive on U.S. soil http://latinalista.com/columns/guestvoz/guest-voz-the-journey-to-reconnect-with-loved-ones-doesnt-end-for-central-american-migrant-children-when-they-arrive-on-u-s-soil Mon, 21 Dec 2015 22:53:49 +0000 http://latinalista.com/?p=35070 Latina Lista: News from the Latino perspective Latina Lista: News from the Latino perspective - News from the Latino perspective. Guest Voz: The journey to reconnect with loved ones doesn’t end for Central American migrant children when they arrive on U.S. soil by Latina Lista

By Patricia Campos-Medina LatinaLista   After a presentation at a college conference, a young college student named Lucia (not her real name) came up to me and asked if we could talk for a few minutes. I love talking with young Latinas so I was glad to sit down with her over a cup of […]

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Latina Lista: News from the Latino perspective Latina Lista: News from the Latino perspective - News from the Latino perspective. Guest Voz: The journey to reconnect with loved ones doesn’t end for Central American migrant children when they arrive on U.S. soil by Latina Lista

By Patricia Campos-Medina
LatinaLista

 

After a presentation at a college conference, a young college student named Lucia (not her real name) came up to me and asked if we could talk for a few minutes. I love talking with young Latinas so I was glad to sit down with her over a cup of coffee at the student lounge.  I thought she wanted to discuss the class, but instead she said she had just one question for me. With tears in her eyes, she thanked me for sharing my story and asked me simply, “How did you make it through college when you had just arrived to the USA?  Sometimes I feel like I don’t belong here.”

She began by telling me that just like me, she had arrived to the United States at the age of 15 years old, after living for many years with her grandmother who raised her because her mother left for the United States when she was an infant.  She talked about her pain of being left behind, her shock upon arriving to a new country many years later and reuniting with a mother she no longer felt connected to. She talked about missing her grandmother and wanting to go back and about the trauma of being a teenager and not fitting in at an American school.  Immediately, my heart began to ache not just because listening to her story took me back to mine but because I knew that her story, 27 years after mine, was the same for thousands more immigrant children who are separated from their parents today.

In the United States right now, thousands of Central American children are housed in detention camps waiting for a judge to decide whether they can reunite with their parents. Thousands more are leaving their countries crossing the border alone and scared.  They are children and teenagers who are escaping poverty and gang-violence in their home countries, but who are also trying to reunite with their parents who they have not seen for decades.

For most immigrants, it is common for a mother and a father to migrate to the United States and leave their kids behind in the care of a relative. But for Central Americans and Mexican children, the story of long-lasting separation from their parents has been a fact of life for several generations. According to recent studies, 96% of Central American immigrant children in schools in the US today have been separated from at least one parent, and 80% of them from both parents.

The same studies also demonstrate that this separation has long-lasting psychological and developmental implications in family relationships long after the family has reunited in the United States. Young children who experience separation from their parents experience emotional distress that impacts behavior and their ability to form healthy adult relationships.  It also leads to lower educational attainment and higher drop out rates.  Other studies link the appeal of gang activity to the lack of strong family structures that can offer the sense of belonging that gangs offer to young teenagers.

Given the lack of a solution for our ongoing immigration crisis in the United States, tackling the issue of family reunification and the long-lasting psychological impacts of it on Central American children seems daunting.  Adding to the problem is the increase of deportations of parents of US-born children who are now forced to separate when an undocumented parent is deported back to their country of origin. In this sense, forced deportations are increasing the number of Latino children in the USA who are growing up without a strong family unit.

The DREAMers struggle to fight for their parents right to stay with their families is indeed a worthwhile fight since it has repercussion not just for their immediate lives, but for the future of a strong Latino family unit.
Just like the DREAMers are fighting to keep their families in the US together, we need to fight to advance a solution that eliminates the pushing factors that force parents to leave their kids behind. During my migration in the 1980’s, war tore families apart. Today poverty and gang violence continues to drive the push north in search of safety and opportunity.

As the richest country in the hemisphere, the US has a responsibility to invest resources in the Central American region and incentivize economic growth.  But doing so, needs long-term vision for a regional economic growth plan that prioritizes human beings over business interest.

President Obama’s Partnership for Growth in Central America is a good start, but it needs to be focused on working with local governments and institutions to address poverty and job creation.  As Latinos in the US who fight for immigration reform, we must also fight for a foreign and trade policy in Central America that prioritizes economic growth so that families can choose to stay together in their homes, rather than choose a dangerous path north.

Lucia’s story is not unique, but it is exceptional because it exemplifies what drives America’s ethos as the land of opportunity.  After being separated from her mother since she was an infant, she finally reunited with her and attended high school in NJ. She graduated and is currently a student at the School of Public affairs at Rutgers University.  Like many other immigrants, she is determined to succeed and wants to use her education to help her family and her community. She is struggling to fit in, but she is determined to get good grades and get a job in her field.  He story demonstrates what fuels economic growth in the US today; the talent of immigrant children who are highly motivated and want to prove they can succeed despite the odds against them.

After listening to her story, I told her that I was certain she would succeed and that she already knew the answer to her own question. How did I succeed in college? I was determined to graduate, because just like her, I wanted to prove that I could succeed in America.   Along the way, I found people who wanted to help me and grabbed on to their support.  Finally, after a long period of friction, I reconnected with my mother and I learned to forgive her because I knew deep in my heart that her decision to migrate was the only solution she had available at the time.  She left to build a better life for her children and because of her I am now able to build a totally different life full of opportunity for my children.

As we celebrate the holidays, stories like Lucia should give us hope that immigrant children are resilient and will meet the challenge of force separation with creativity and determination. The DREAMers #NOT1MORE deportation campaign is an example of youth taking risk and challenging the status quo on behalf of their parents.  Their example should inspire adults to be bolder and demand concrete solutions for the crisis in Central America.

And for me, I was glad I spent time with Lucia. Her story is my story and the story of many immigrant children today.  We must acknowledge them and build a narrative that reminds politicians that our current immigration crisis is at the core a human crisis.

For more information on the Central American Children Refugee crisis and how to help visit https://www.gcir.org/childrefugeesmigrants. For more information on the #NOT1MORE deportation campaign, visit http://www.notonemoredeportation.com

Patricia Campos-Medina is a labor leader and leadership development professional.  She currently leads the Union Leadership Institute at the Worker Institute at Cornell University in NYC.  She immigrated to the United States in 1988 from El Salvador at the age of 15 years old.

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Crowdfunder: Creating a non-profit jiu jitsu & boxing program for at-risk kids http://latinalista.com/new-headline/crowdfunder-creating-a-non-profit-jiu-jitsu-boxing-program-for-at-risk-kids Mon, 21 Dec 2015 22:17:43 +0000 http://latinalista.com/?p=35067 Latina Lista: News from the Latino perspective Latina Lista: News from the Latino perspective - News from the Latino perspective. Crowdfunder: Creating a non-profit jiu jitsu & boxing program for at-risk kids by Latina Lista

LatinaLista — Campaign: Guardian - Non-Profit Jiu Jitsu & Boxing for Kids   It's a harsh reality that 11.3 million children have to take care of themselves after the school day ends. Not surprisingly, the peak hours for juvenile crime and experimentation with drugs and alcohol are between 3 and 6pm. After-school programs are critical to […]

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Latina Lista: News from the Latino perspective Latina Lista: News from the Latino perspective - News from the Latino perspective. Crowdfunder: Creating a non-profit jiu jitsu & boxing program for at-risk kids by Latina Lista

LatinaLista —

Campaign: Guardian - Non-Profit Jiu Jitsu & Boxing for Kids
 

It's a harsh reality that 11.3 million children have to take care of themselves after the school day ends. Not surprisingly, the peak hours for juvenile crime and experimentation with drugs and alcohol are between 3 and 6pm. After-school programs are critical to children and families today, yet the need for programs is far from being met.

This is why  The Guardian Project was started.

What is the Guardian Project?

Guardian is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that provides FREE after-school training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and boxing to Oakland's youth. We aim to provide at-risk youth with skills that help them build self-esteem, confidence and discipline through martial arts. The goal is to prepare kids for the future by providing a world-class environment to connect with mentors, peers, and community leaders.

Why martial arts?

The benefits of martial arts extend to and improve all aspects of life. Students gain the ability to focus, work hard, believe in themselves, and create a loving and welcoming community for others. Guardian provides a safe haven before and after training that includes desks, computers, and mentors for students. Mentors will aid students with their homework as well as teach passion projects such as video editing, web design, and other essential communication skills of today and tomorrow.

What has been done so far?

The founders of the Guardian Project, Joel and Ben, have been working over the last 18 months, nights and weekends, outside of their full-time careers at Twitter. They have put in their own money to date to fund all of the legal and accounting, pre-payment of lease, first year insurance, starter equipment, and everything else to get Guardian to this point. They are not receiving any salary or financial compensation related to The Guardian Project.

What will they use the funds for?  

The funds raised in this campaign is to give this gift to over 225 children in the first year.

The donations will apply directly to covering the cost of the students’ membership. Although most commercial martial arts gym memberships can range from $125 to over $200 per month, they have been able to cost out a child's monthly fees at roughly $45. They have secured a beautiful space in downtown Oakland for the next five years and the doors have just opened as of December 14th for both kids and adults to begin training.

This idea has become a reality with hard work and love. Now they need help to make it a success.

The crowdfunding goal is $126,500.

#jointhefight

 

 

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Black, Latino Boys in Boston Want Better Schools http://latinalista.com/columns/blogbeat-columns/black-latino-boys-in-boston-want-better-schools Mon, 21 Dec 2015 17:04:34 +0000 http://latinalista.com/?p=35064 Latina Lista: News from the Latino perspective Latina Lista: News from the Latino perspective - News from the Latino perspective. Black, Latino Boys in Boston Want Better Schools by Latina Lista

By Natalie Gross Latino Ed Beat   Sixty black and Latino boys spoke to Boston school officials last week about issues they feel might be holding them back at school. Segregation, high suspension rates and teacher diversity were at the top of their list.  Boston Globe reporter Astead Herndon writes that the students’ meeting at school district […]

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Latina Lista: News from the Latino perspective Latina Lista: News from the Latino perspective - News from the Latino perspective. Black, Latino Boys in Boston Want Better Schools by Latina Lista

By Natalie Gross
Latino Ed Beat

 

Sixty black and Latino boys spoke to Boston school officials last week about issues they feel might be holding them back at school. Segregation, high suspension rates and teacher diversity were at the top of their list. 

Boston Globe reporter Astead Herndon writes that the students’ meeting at school district headquarters on Saturday was the first of a two-day session designed to give male students a voice. 

Among the recommendations students gave to officials were pleas to relax discipline at the schools. Having to be escorted to the bathroom by an adult, getting randomly searched by school security guards or walking through metal detectors at the school doors make them feel like criminals, they said. 

Boston schools superintendent Tommy Chang, who will oversee an advisory council comprised of some of the minority students at the meeting, called for expanded access to Advanced Work Class, a program in Boston Public Schools which allows young students to test into an accelerated curriculum for grades 4, 5 and 6. According to Herndon’s story, there are few black and Latino boys enrolled. 

“This is segregation we’re doing at a very young age. Shouldn’t there be rigor for all fourth-through sixth-grade students?” Chang said.

Boston isn’t the only Massachusetts city grappling with these types of issues. 

A recent report by the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center shows that across the state, black and Latino students disproportionately attend high-poverty school districts. During the 2013-14 school year, 69 percent of Latinos attended school at campuses where at least 60 percent of the students were low-income. The same was true for 63 percent of black students. 

High-poverty schools across the nation – and in Massachusetts, the report points out – tend to have less experienced teachers, inadequate facilities and curriculums that are not as rigorous as what’s taught in more affluent schools. As a result, test scores and graduation rates suffer. 

Rosann Tung has researched Boston public schools at Annenberg Institute for School Reform and presented her findings to the group of black and Latino students assembled last weekend. Warning them the data would make them mad, she reported that just 22.1 percent of black males and 24.9 percent of Latino males in the district’s elementary schools scored proficient or higher on the state’s English exam. For their white and Asian peers, the numbers were much higher at 56.9 and 48.5 percent, respectively, Herndon writes. 

A series of reports by the Center for Collaborative Education earlier this year identified a wide achievement gap between black and Latino male students — who make up 40 percent of district enrollment — and their white and Asian peers in Boston Public Schools. Researchers found a lack of cultural competency in the district may have something to do with it. Read more about that here

With questions or comments about Latino Ed Beat, contact Natalie Gross. You can also follow her on Twitter @NGross_EWA.

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In one West Valley community, ever-shifting demographics are changing the face of Phoenix http://latinalista.com/communitystories/southwest/in-one-west-valley-community-ever-shifting-demographics-are-changing-the-face-of-phoenix Mon, 21 Dec 2015 16:46:24 +0000 http://latinalista.com/?p=35061 Latina Lista: News from the Latino perspective Latina Lista: News from the Latino perspective - News from the Latino perspective. In one West Valley community, ever-shifting demographics are changing the face of Phoenix by Latina Lista

By Erica Lang  Cronkite News   PHOENIX – Where the city of Phoenix once ended at 83rd Avenue, onion fields began — stretching into the distance in a nearly straight shot to Luke Air Force Base. Almost 50 years later, the ground that once supported agriculture now reflects a community whose roots prove ever changing. […]

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Latina Lista: News from the Latino perspective Latina Lista: News from the Latino perspective - News from the Latino perspective. In one West Valley community, ever-shifting demographics are changing the face of Phoenix by Latina Lista

By Erica Lang 
Cronkite News
 

PHOENIX – Where the city of Phoenix once ended at 83rd Avenue, onion fields began — stretching into the distance in a nearly straight shot to Luke Air Force Base. Almost 50 years later, the ground that once supported agriculture now reflects a community whose roots prove ever changing.

Forty-three years ago, Martha Garcia and her then-husband bought their first home in Maryvale for $12,000. Bounded by 51st and 59th avenues, Thomas and McDowell roads, she was the only Latina on her block.

Today, Garcia’s neighborhood reflects an emerging change. “On my block, there’s only two Caucasians, there’s one African American family and the rest are all Hispanics,” she said.

Suzanne Thraen and her husband, Rex, settled in Maryvale’s Tomahawk Village neighborhood 40 years ago after his last assignment in Europe with the U.S. Air Force.

At the time, mostly military families lived in Tomahawk Village. Named for the nearby elementary school, the community is a square mile bordered by 75th and 83rd avenues, Indian School and Camelback roads, with a little over 2,500 homes.

There, too, the shift has been dramatic, as the ever-growing Latino population continues to change the demographic landscape of Phoenix and Arizona. Today, the Maryvale population sits at about 200,000 and more than 75 percent are Hispanic, according to statistics from the City of Phoenix Planning and Development Research Team.

Carolyn Peace moved from Wilcox to Maryvale in 1971 to teach kindergarten. She taught in the Cartwright District where she met her husband, John, who was teaching fifth grade.

For 42 years, they have remained in the same cul-de-sac. All her neighbors are Hispanic.

“We don’t know as many people in the neighborhood as we did,” she said, adding that many of her current neighbors only speak Spanish, making it difficult to communicate.

Maryvale’s businesses — selling “mariscos,” “raspados” and “carne asada” — reflect a neighborhood that has become a majority minority. A 2014 report from the Pew Foundation shows that Arizona’s population is 30 percent Hispanic, making it one of five states with the largest Latino demographic after Texas.

At 75th Avenue and Thomas Road, Mercado de Los Cielos sits within Desert Sky Mall, a shopping center that has changed dramatically over the years to reflect the community. A long-gone Montgomery Ward and Mervyns once attracted customers; now it’s a quinceanera dress shop and Cinema Latino, which shows Spanish movies.

“Eighty-plus percent of our customers are from Hispanic descent and were the first-, second- or third-generation Hispanic,” said Zeke Valenzuela, the mall’s manager.

“Hispanics shop as families, it’s not just mom and pop, it’s grandpas, grandmas, uncles…. and all of that and so you create an ambiance where families, entire families, come together. And the Mercado offers that, it gives you a glimpse back at possibly the country you came from,” Valenzuela said.

Remembering the past is easy for Thraen. She recalls a time when the economy soured in the 1980s and many people in Tomahawk Village began selling their homes, which then became a glut of rentals.

Overgrown weeds became common and chipping paint added to the deteriorating conditions of homes. The community’s blight was no longer unavoidable, putting it on the federal government’s list for assistance.

“A neighborhood that was now on the list for the need by the federal government. We became eligible for that a long time ago,” Thraen said.

When the people moving are trying to put food on the table, grass in the front yard has a very low priority, she said.

Tomahawk Village’s struggle with graffiti and upkeep is not unique. The neighborhood mirrors the surrounding changes in the larger Maryvale area, the first master planned community in Arizona.

It began with the vision of John F. Long, who realized the need for housing and infrastructure, mostly for veterans coming out of World War II. By 1958, he was the top builder of affordable homes in Arizona. Long provided land for churches, schools and parks.

“Maryvale was the first master planned community in all of Arizona,” said Jim Miller, the director of real estate at John F. Long Properties.

By 1975, however, Maryvale residents began moving north into new gated subdivisions with swimming pools.

“So Maryvale people started trading their 20-year-old homes or so and started moving up to the suburbs,” said Vania Fletcher, a development planner for the City of Phoenix. During the 1980s, a new population of Hispanic families began moving in.

On Devonshire Avenue, it’s a similar story. Thraen’s neighbors reflect the growth of the Latino population and the challenges that have surfaced.

Thraen remembers one neighbor “who was just as sweet as she could be, didn’t speak a word of English… and she had never lived in a house that didn’t have anything but dirt floor.”

Her idea of cleaning the floor, Thraen remembered, was to turn on the hose and wash the tile through the house, out the back door and into the swimming pool.

“It took a few years to get across to her there were other ways that could be done.”

Thraen realizes her one block is a small example. “We’re just a microcosm, we’re nothing but a flyspeck on the butt of a hippopotamus. What makes it any different? Well, we just live in it.”

At 75 years old, Thraen spends her retirement days as if she never stopped working — looking after the community she calls home. A shiny blue-gray Sebring convertible is parked in the garage and she admits, “I love to drive it with the top down.”

But perhaps what her neighbors see her driving more often is the golf cart that sits next to the Sebring with an “I heart Maryvale” bumper sticker on the back.

It’s a means to go around the neighborhood, say hi to the children, Thraen said, her lip quivering slightly. “To listen to the stories of people, to cry with people when their loved ones die or when they go away.”

As she zooms around the streets of Tomahawk, she’ll shout, “Pick that cup up, it doesn’t belong on the ground,” to the kid who dropped it a few steps away. Or she’ll follow a group of girls who left a six-pack of empty bottles on the street, pulling up in front of them, “You think we need to speak to your folks about littering?”

But her commitment to improving the neighborhood is not a job for everyone.

Octavio Aboytes bought his first home in Maryvale 21 years ago and as his three kids grew, so did the Latino population around him. After noticing problems in the neighborhood — trash, drug activities, robberies — he decided to participate in Tomahawk’s block watch.

Phoenix Vice Mayor Daniel Valenzuela, who is from the Maryvale area and raised his children there, acknowledges there are problems, but says the community still is vibrant with success stories.

“We’re football coaches and baseball coaches, we work with nonprofits and help create nonprofits,” he said. “It’s a very special place where gold medalists are born, like Henry Cejudo, and future Hall of Fame football players are from, like Darren Woodson, and amazing artists like CeCe Peniston.”

He concedes, however, that Maryvale has in some ways has been underserved. For example, while widely used, the transit center on 75th Avenue and Thomas Road lacks the amenities of the state-of-the-art transit center just west of it.

“If you go out there, you would see a couple of benches, no amenities, no restroom, very little shade,” Valenzuela said. “Now think about that for a moment. This is the highest-used transit center in the Valley.”

For Dé Vargas, a longtime Tomahawk resident, the issue is about ethics and values.

“Bottom line, I think everybody has to have a commitment to love your neighbor as yourself, who’s your neighbor, who’s next to you, it has to be a value,” she said.

Vargas points to one block and the abundance of auto title lenders and cash loan storefronts in their community and the surrounding Maryvale area. Grocery options are limited with mainly Latino grocery stores — El Super, Ranch Market and a Fry’s with a mercado inside.

“It’s a struggle, it’s a continual struggle,” Vargas said. “We’re down in the trenches so to speak.”

Aboytes said he plans on moving.

“I’m moving in the next six months,” saying his new home will be in North Phoenix, near 51st Avenue and Deer Valley Road. “I think it’s time to move, honestly.”

But that time may never come for Thraen, who has been asked by many times if she’ll ever move to Sun City. Her response is always no.

“I cry because I don’t see very many people out of that community that have been here 10, 15 years or even 20 or 25 who will stand up like Vargas,” she said. “So the old, white-haired people around here, whether you’re Mildred and Billy and you’re black, or you’re Eric and Gene and you’re gay and black and white, or whether you’re a little person in a wheelchair and you’re name is Leticia, there’s lots of people in this neighborhood.”

As she scoots around in the golf cart, she looks to her right and sighs, “All these homes have stories.”

She drives the golf cart back into her driveway, puts it in park and waves to a couple that just bought the home across the street.

It’s time for Thraen to welcome the new neighbors.

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ListaPodcast: House OKs spending measure, hung jury in Freddie Gray trial, Republicans spar on immigration December 18, 2015 http://latinalista.com/media-2/podcasts/listapodcast-house-oks-spending-measure-hung-jury-in-freddie-gray-trial-republicans-spar-on-immigration-december-18-2015 Fri, 18 Dec 2015 21:44:22 +0000 http://latinalista.com/?p=35054 Latina Lista: News from the Latino perspective Latina Lista: News from the Latino perspective - News from the Latino perspective. ListaPodcast: House OKs spending measure, hung jury in Freddie Gray trial, Republicans spar on immigration December 18, 2015 by Latina Lista

Obed Manuel Latina Lista Here's your brief rundown of the week's news Recording and editing by Obed Manuel

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Latina Lista: News from the Latino perspective Latina Lista: News from the Latino perspective - News from the Latino perspective. ListaPodcast: House OKs spending measure, hung jury in Freddie Gray trial, Republicans spar on immigration December 18, 2015 by Latina Lista

Obed Manuel
Latina Lista

Here's your brief rundown of the week's news

Recording and editing by Obed Manuel

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Maps track spread of U.S. social movements http://latinalista.com/columns/blogbeat-columns/maps-track-spread-of-u-s-social-movements Thu, 17 Dec 2015 20:29:51 +0000 http://latinalista.com/?p=35049 Latina Lista: News from the Latino perspective Latina Lista: News from the Latino perspective - News from the Latino perspective. Maps track spread of U.S. social movements by Latina Lista

By Peter Kelley Futurity   A digital project is using data visualization to depict social movements in United States history, including the NAACP, the American Socialist Party, and the Industrial Workers of the World. For example, it’s one thing to read that the NAACP grew from three branches nationwide in 1912 to 894 branches in […]

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Latina Lista: News from the Latino perspective Latina Lista: News from the Latino perspective - News from the Latino perspective. Maps track spread of U.S. social movements by Latina Lista

By Peter Kelley
Futurity

 

A digital project is using data visualization to depict social movements in United States history, including the NAACP, the American Socialist Party, and the Industrial Workers of the World.

For example, it’s one thing to read that the NAACP grew from three branches nationwide in 1912 to 894 branches in 1945, but it’s more interesting and revealing to watch that expansion—from Tacoma to Bangor, Maine, and beyond—on an interactive map, as the decades slide by.

The project, “Mapping American Social Movements through the 20th Century,” has the three-part goal of developing geographic data about social movements, producing visualizations such as interactive maps and charts, and providing analysis and interpretation of the data they present.

The maps are part of a growing group of websites overseen by James Gregory, professor of history at the University of Washington. Those resources are grouped as the Pacific Northwest Labor and Civil Rights Projects.

“Until now, historians and social scientists have mostly studied social movements in isolation and often with little attention to geography,” he says. “This project allows us to explore the relationships between social movements by bringing them together in time and space. It enables new understandings of how social movements interact, change and reproduce over time.”


NAACP leaders hold a poster against racial bias in 1956. From left: Henry L. Moon, Roy Wilkins, Herbert Hill, Thurgood Marshall. (Credit: Al Ravenna/World Telegraph & Sun via Wikimedia Commons)

THE FRAGMENTED LEFT

Gregory is studying the historical role of radicalism in American politics—an issue, he says, that has long puzzled historians.

Much of what might be called radicalism grew through social movements rather than political parties, Gregory says. These movements have often been fragmented in nature, with civil rights, women’s rights, environmentalism, anti-war protest, and cultural issues all vying for public attention.

“This fragmentation makes the American left hard to define,” he says. Historical studies thus far have proved better at chronicling specific episodes of radicalism than explaining the movement as a whole. Historians, Gregory says, must “wrestle fully” with the fragmented nature of the American left to properly study the left as a movement.

“How has it met the challenge of endurance?” Gregory asks. “Movements seem to come and go. Radicalism seems to flourish for a time, and then dies back. Yet new lefts manage to appear later. How does that happen?”

KEY MOVEMENTS ON THE MAP

The dramatic rise of the NAACP is one of many progressive trends depicted on the Mapping Social Movements website. Here are a few others.

Maps of the American Socialist Party “reveal a geography of radicalism that has since disappeared,” Gregory says, with one map showing all of 353 towns and cities that elected Socialist mayors and other public officials in the years before World War I. A generation later those areas—such as Marshall County, Oklahoma, and Butler County, Ohio—had largely become conservative. “Nowadays, residents wouldn’t know what to think about their radical history,” Gregory says.

American voters seemed less concerned about the Communist Party before the Cold War that followed World War II. “By mapping the vote totals in each state and county for Communist candidates in elections from 1922 to 1944, we learn something about the numbers of party loyalists and where they lived,” Gregory says. This shows expected support in New York and Chicago, but, surprisingly, also strong Communist Party support in California in the late 1930s and early 1940s.

The project’s mapping of the Industrial Workers of the World, or IWW—also called “Wobblies”—is its most detailed yet. “The scope of the activity is one surprise,” Gregory says, with IWW unions found in more than 350 towns and cities across 38 states and territories as well as five Canadian provinces from 1905 to 1920, “but seeing the density of activity in Louisiana, Texas, Indiana, and Ohio is eye-opening.”

MAKING DATA PUBLIC

Additions coming soon to the site, Gregory says, are maps about the Congress of Racial Equality, or CORE, another important civil rights organization, and union activity by the United Farm Workers. Preliminary versions of the site have used the Tableau and Google Fusion platforms. Gregory says he’ll need additional technologies to create the more complex maps he wants, overlaying data in various arrangements.

Gregory intends this project to be collaborative. “As we move forward, I will be reaching out to social scientists who have developed very large datasets funded by the National Science Foundation and other federal agencies. Their data is supposed to be made public, and we offer a way to do that.”

In time, the digital project will become the basis for a set of articles and a digitally published book “that will explore the political geography of radical movements and reassess the ways they have interacted, regenerated themselves, and influenced political and cultural life during the 20th century.”

Grants from the Walter Chapin Simpson Center for the Humanities, the Lenore Hanauer Fund, the department of history, and the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies, all at the university, supported the project.

Source: University of Washington

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