May 302008

Via Frieda Werden of WINGS:

“Word just arrived that the UN is poised to cancel the program “Women” produced by UN Radio’s English service. There is no other program focused on women that I know of coming out of UN media. You can find it for streaming and downloading on the website

My letter said that the women’s coverage of the UN for radio needs to be expanded. It is a program that’s been around for decades, but it’s been cut back and back until it’s only 14 minutes every 2 weeks – a ridiculous length and frequency in terms of getting scheduled on radio stations.

A tremendous amount is happening in the UN involving and affecting women, and yet nowadays campus media, community media, and women’s media are all being denied press passes to cover press conferences and events put on by the UN. We’ve never been able to get a substantial amount of serious coverage out of network media on women’s issues. Who is going to cover the United Nations for us?”

Contact for your letters and emails of feedback and support:

Diane Bailey
Chief, English Language Unit
United Nations Radio
United Nations, Room S-850F
New York, NY 10017
baileyd @

 May 30, 2008  Posted by on May 30, 2008 Comments Off on Save U.N.’s “Women” Radio Program
May 292008

Maria Isabel Vasquez JImenez collapsed on May 14 while working in a vineyard near Stockton, CA. She died 2 days later.

“When Vasquez Jimenez collapsed, she had been on the job three days, pruning vines for $8 an hour in a vineyard owned by West Coast Grape Farming.

During eight hours of work beginning at 6 a.m. in heat that topped 95 degrees, (Florentino) Bautista (her fiancee) said that workers were given only one water break, at 10:30 a.m. And the water was a 10-minute walk away – too far, he said, to keep up with the crew and avoid being scolded.

Vasquez Jimenez collapsed at 3:30 p.m., Bautista said, and for at least five minutes, the foreman did nothing but stare at the couple while Bautista cradled her.

Bautista said the foreman told him to place the teenager in the back seat of a van, which was hot inside, and put a wet cloth on her.

Later, Bautista said, the foreman told a driver to take the pair to a store to buy rubbing alcohol and apply it to see if it would revive Vasquez Jimenez. When that failed, the driver took the couple to a clinic in Lodi, Bautista said, where her body temperature had reached more than 108 degrees.

“The foreman told me to say that she wasn’t working for a contractor, that she got sick while exercising,” Bautista said in Spanish. “He said she was underage, and it would cause a lot of problems.”

More likely there will be a big outcry, lots of breast beating and then it will be back to business as usual. Welcome to the land of the free.

 May 29, 2008  Posted by on May 29, 2008 Comments Off on The Death Of A Migrant Child Worker In The Fields Of California
May 292008

Many thanks to my friend Gabriela for passing along this excellent article about motherhood and immigration from The Mothers Movement Online:

Motherhood and immigration are intertwined. Some mothers leave their countries and their families for a better life for their children. Some come here seeking a better life, have children, and face all the challenges of being split-status families. Some stay behind, and only dream visions of what their children may experience so far from home. Yet the story of immigration, and the policy debates now circling around the topic are strikingly gendered, and ignore the reality of mothers and their children. So too do the writings and public conversations on motherhood often exclude the stories of immigrant mothers.

When I think about the scene from Maria Full of Grace, I am filled with a profound sense of admiration and wonder at the sacrifice of so many immigrant women who risk so much to make a better life for their children. My clients (and friends) escaped war, crossed the Mexican desert for days with little water or food, some pregnant or with children in tow, all for a dream. Hoping to piece together economic survival for themselves and their children, they escaped Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union via marriages to abusive U.S. men. Some found themselves in situations of modern day slavery or labor exploitation. Like Maria in that pivotal scene, they face the absolute unknown, many lacking the language or any economic or social supports, with the conviction that the possibility of providing their children with basic needs and education was worth the risk.

 May 29, 2008  Posted by on May 29, 2008 Comments Off on Motherhood And Immigration
May 292008

As many have you have been wondering, where the ef has this blog gone?  The answer is a busier than normal travel schedule and several big writing projects.  For the next few months there will be some posting pauses, but all is well, just  a bit chaotic.

 May 29, 2008  Posted by on May 29, 2008 Comments Off on Yes I’m Still Alive
May 222008

Why does this not surprise me:

“Reports that there was an expectation of sexual favors at Agriprocessors Inc. are beginning to emerge from workers at the Postville meat processing plant, and advocates for immigrants are trying to document the stories.Sister Mary McCauley, a Roman Catholic nun at St. Bridget’s Catholic Church in Postville, said workers have said that “there was sexual abuse, that there’s propositioning.”

She said she didn’t hear any of the stories firsthand but that others passed along the information to her.

If a worker wanted, say, a promotion or a shift change, “they’d be brought into a room with three or four men and it was like, ‘Which one do you want? Which one are you going to serve? ” McCauley said Monday in an interview with Des Moines Register editors and reporters.”

 May 22, 2008  Posted by on May 22, 2008 Comments Off on Workers At Agriprocessors Allege Sexual Abuse