Karen Taylor of Seattle is joining us on May Day. Here's why:
"I went to the Farmworkers Tribunal in Olympia and heard directly from latino/a immigrant workers.
They don't have bathrooms in the field. They don't get water and rest breaks. They are forced to work shifts longer than 12 hours. They lose their feet to frostbite when they are forced to work in the cold. Women workers are sexually harassed and raped. The farmers spray pesticides while the workers are in the fields and it burns them, but they have to keep working. Twelve year old children are working in the fields.
All the workers at a butchery were fired for taking one day off for the Day Without Immigrants and the employers refused to negotiate when the workers asked to talk about how they might get their jobs back. These people have families to support. They cannot protest these inhumane conditions, because they live in terrible fear of employers calling ICE to raid them. The farm workers repeated over and over "We are not machines, we are human."
A professor once told me that if you get that horrified sick feeling in your gut from knowing about an injustice, the only cure is to do something about it. I know about these injustices now and they make me physically ill and I am doing something about it.
I am marching to support undocumented immigrant workers' basic human rights.
The only way we will build power is by coming together, seeing each other, walking with each other, bumping up against each other, shouting together, and sharing our common humanity. When we see and know each other as human beings it connects us and it forms the foundation for building community power in all possible ways. Marches and protests make us and our concerns visible to those who oppress us, but most crucially, they make us visible to each other. We become united.
Every meal you eat comes to you through the suffering of farm workers; their work literally nourishes our bodies, and we must fight for their basic human rights."