The Women of Patrona: an example of solidarity
un article par Andrea Cruz and Maricruz Serna
Video: "Las Patronas" helping migrants
Guadalupe or La Patrona is a town in the state of Veracruz, Mexico. Its population includes a group of women who decided to help migrants as of 15 years ago, according to the 2011 video by El Pais.com. They provide rice, beans, bread and bottles of water to help them survive a little better their long journey to the American dream. As shown in their video, this is greatly appreciated because there are some who go days without eating or drinking, to the point that they lose the strength to keep going.
Patrona delivering food
click on photo to enlarge
The women of Patrona ("Las Patronas") give out about 200 portions of food per day; these are provided completely at their own intiative without any government support. As a result of their documentary, they have started to receive support from from many sides, including national and international journalists, companies such as Chedraui that gives brea, universities interested in the cause, and community members such as women from the local market who give fruit and vegetables once a week.
Each year Mexico serves as a transit for 400,000 Central American migrant workers who undertake the voyage to the North seeking hope for their lives, having failed to find opportunities for a dignified life in their own countries of origin. And each year, there are about 5,000 migrants coming from Central America who find death rather than life and an even larger number who disappear under these difficult circumstances.
What is happening in the state of Veracruz calls our attention to the solidarity of these women who have decided to provide food and encouragement to migrants to go forward and stay strong in the face of the adversity they face. For their part, the young Central Americans encourage the women to continue their actions through their stories and their appreciation for the help they get from "Las Patronas." These women are Mexicans we can be proud of. They are an example for the society in which we live. They have been able to achieve the change that our current situation needs in order to change the entire world for the better.
Click here for the original Spanish version of this article.
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Should illegal immigrants be protected?,
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The news report of a merger between HERE, the Hotel and Restaurant Employees Union and UNITE, the clothing, textiles and laundry union, is important news for all workers including illegal immigrants, because these unions are in the forefront of organizing immigrant workers and assuring their rights.
By bringing immigrant workers into the trade union movement, these unions promote worker unity and deny unscrupulous employers the option of pitting one group of workers against another.
This is a great step forward for the American labor movement which did not support union rights for illegal immigrants during the 19th and 20th Centuries.
And, of course, it is a great step forward for immigrant workers at the same time.
The new union will represent 440,000 active members and more than 400,000 retirees throughout North America. The tentative agreement is expected to be ratified with a vote by rank-and-file members at a special joint convention in Chicago in July. . .
UNITE and HERE have collaborated most recently in the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride, the successful struggle for a fair contract for Yale workers, and in the current effort to unionize H&M retail and distribution workers. . .
UNITE historically represents workers in the apparel and textile industries, and more recently has organized industrial laundries, distribution centers and workers in light manufacturing. HERE members are in the hospitality industries, working in hotels, airports, casinos, food service, and restaurants. Though there are places where the industries overlap, particularly in hospitality and laundry, the merger is primarily a reflection of the two unions' shared values and priorities: social justice economic opportunity, civil rights, the rights of immigrant workers and a commitment to organizing unrepresented workers. . .
"This is a non-traditional merger of two non-traditional unions," says HERE President John Wilhelm. "Our outstanding members and staff are recognized even outside of the labor movement; both unions are regarded for their work on behalf of progressive causes. The HERE Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride brought together activists of every stripe,and UNITE is largely responsible for developing the anti-sweatshop movement in the U.S.and Canada."
UNITE HERE will be headquartered in New York City.The new union will combine the complete resources and assets of each organization, including the $3.6 billion Amalgamated Bank, the only union-owned bank in North America.
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