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01.20 A Swelling Tide of Major Teacher Strikes Is Shifting Our Politics Against the Charter Agenda

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01.22 How Orkney leads the way for sustainable energy

01.22 Greenland's ice melting faster than scientists previously thought – study

01.22 David Attenborough tells Davos: ‘The Garden of Eden is no more’ [2:21 video]

01.21 35,000 Hit Streets of Berlin to Demand Agricultural Revolution

01.20 Doctors are frightened by climate change. Their industry is a big part of the problem.

01.18 Learning From Cuba’s ‘Medicare for All’

01.17 As Planet Heats Further, Even Davos Elite Warns Humanity Is 'Sleepwalking Into Catastrophe' [Intelligent government is desperately needed]

01.17 Could a Green New Deal Save Civilization? [Intelligent government is desperately needed]

01.17 New plant-focused diet would ‘transform’ planet’s future, say scientists

01.17 Studies Show Ice Melting and Ocean Warming Both Happening Much Faster Than Previously Thought

01.16 Immediate fossil fuel phaseout could arrest climate change – study [Intelligent government is desperately needed]

01.16 Our oceans broke heat records in 2018 and the consequences are catastrophic [charts]

01.15 Solar Farms Shine a Ray of Hope on Bees and Butterflies [Wonderful!]

01.15 Australia could hit 100% renewables sooner than most people think

01.15 Ion age: why the future will be battery powered

01.15 Barclays on wrong side of history with climate policy, says Greenpeace

01.15 'One fish at a time': Indonesia lands remarkable victory

01.15 Insect collapse: ‘We are destroying our life support systems’

01.14 V.A. Seeks to Redirect Billions of Dollars Into Private Care [The most public and efficient healthcare in America has been demonized and will be destroyed rather than improved, raising total  per-capita costs]

01.14 Saudi Arabia Increases Solar Targets To 20 Gigawatts By 2023 & 40 Gigawatts By 2030

01.14 Solar + Storage Half The Cost Of Gas Peaker Plants — 8MinuteEnergy

01.14 Why thousands of Los Angeles teachers are going on strike [Well at least we got a big tax-cut for the super-rich, that was the most important thing.]

01.14 Air pollution 'as bad as smoking in increasing risk of miscarriage'

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01.22 'Medicare for All and Equal Rights Aren't Trends': Ocasio-Cortez Fires Back After Aaron Sorkin Lectures Young Progressives [Morality is not a trend, it is a state of being we should all aspire to]

01.22 'Literally What Jesus Told People to Do': In Arizona, Possible Prison Time for Leaving Food and Water for Migrants

01.22 White students in MAGA gear crashed the Indigenous Peoples March and harassed participants [3:44 video; we must stop growing/programming more sociopaths]

01.21 Trump’s One Legislative ‘Win’ Is Actually a Failure

01.21 TRUMP 'HAS ISOLATED AMERICA AND TAKEN US BACKWARDS,' FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE KERRY SAYS

01.21 The 'exhausting' work of factcheckers who track Trump's barrage of lies

01.20 REPUBLICAN SAYS TRUMP IS 'INCAPABLE' OF ARTICULATING A PLAN TO END GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN

01.20 Institute Index: The Racial Injustice of the Government Shutdown

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01.19 The Biden Band-Aid: Will Democrats Contain the Insurgency?

01.19 Donald Trump Has Never Cared About Workers, and Never Will

01.19 Republicans’ lack of alarm over the shutdown reveals a disturbing truth [Sociopaths have little or no conscience, empathy or morality...]

01.19 Arizona: Four women convicted after leaving food and water in desert for migrants [morality is against the law]

01.19 Mueller breaks silence to dispute parts of bombshell report on Michael Cohen

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01.22 Labor promises to 'supercharge' hydrogen industry as green groups say 'no role for coal'

01.22 Who is more dangerous: El Chapo or Carlos Slim? [Like Drug Gangs, Mafias harm and kill the public too—but slowly and quietly like leeches]

01.22 Martin Luther King was no prophet of unity. He was a radical [He was—and We must be—passionate and pro-active for improving moral conduct in society!]

01.19 The Ebola outbreak in Eastern Congo is moving toward a major city. That’s not good.

01.19 Ahead of Third Annual Women's March, Group Releases Far-Reaching 'Intersectional Feminist Policy Platform'

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  Maryland is Indebted to César Chávez’s Legacy
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SPEAKING OUT:

Maryland is Indebted to César Chávez’s Legacy

by Daniela Dwyer
Tuesday, 31 March 2009
Through Chávez’s union, and in conjunction with community and legal services advocates, many improvements in farmworkers' rights have been achieved.
Why should Maryland declare March 31 César Chávez Day?

Although the efforts of Chávez, co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America, focused primarily on the West Coast, he influenced farmworker unions to form in Texas and Ohio—and his impact continues to be felt in smaller agricultural states such as Maryland.

In 2000, the Federal Department of Labor’s National Agricultural Worker Study (NAWS) found that approximately 10,000 migrant workers reside annually in Maryland. Many of the migrant workers are lawful permanent residents or U.S. citizens who arrive from other states, such as Florida and Texas.

An additional 1,000 farmworkers perform agricultural work in Maryland through lawful participation in a federal guest-worker visa program.

Regardless of lawful immigration status, the vast majority of farmworkers in Maryland face harsh living and working conditions, both of which remain largely dictated by their employers.

Today’s migrant farmworkers remain generally non-English speaking, are often destitute due to low wage rates and high levels of wage non-payment, work in America’s second-most dangerous occupation, and are geographically isolated from most social services.

Through Chávez’s union, and in conjunction with community and legal services advocates, many improvements in farmworkers' rights have been achieved.

Migrant workers remain a population extremely vulnerable to exploitation.

For example, in 1975, Chávez was instrumental in working with California Rural Legal Assistance to obtain a decision from the California Supreme Court banning the “short-handled hoe” as an Unfair Labor Tool. However, migrant workers remain a population extremely vulnerable to exploitation.

Through its statewide outreach, Maryland Legal Aid has witnessed the long hours temporary migrant workers are required to perform. There are migrant workers in every Maryland county.

Maryland’s robust seasonal economies demonstrate that migrant workers in the agricultural, crab, landscaping and hospitality industries come at local employers’ requests to perform hard, necessary work.

Crab house, horse and dairy workers often begin work at sunrise; pack house, nursery and field workers often end long after sunset. Almost all lack health benefits, sick days or personal leave, much less paid leave.

Farmworkers in Maryland would be unlikely to receive any leave on March 31st if it were declared a day of commemoration. Nevertheless, the symbolic recognition of Chávez’s efforts to improve their living and working conditions is broadly inspiring.

Designating March 31st as César Chávez Day will provide an important opportunity for all Marylanders to reflect upon workers’ contributions and the holiday’s call to service towards others.

Last year, President (then Senator) Obama stated on Mar. 31, 2008, in the Los Angeles Times that, “As farmworkers and laborers across America continue to struggle for fair treatment and fair wages, we find strength in what César Chávez accomplished so many years ago ... [a]nd we should honor him for what he's taught us about making America a stronger, more just, and more prosperous nation. It's time to recognize the contributions of this American icon to the ongoing efforts to perfect our union.”

America at its best is not the history of a few, but the stories of us all. Maryland gave birth to our national anthem, and has always been a vital part of American history. It should join the charge to remember all of our nation’s heroes.

I urge Maryland to join President Obama in remembering the unsung legacy of César Chávez.


Daniela Dwyer is supervising attorney of Maryland Legal Aid's Farmworker Program.



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This story was published on April 1, 2009.
 

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