Thursday, February 26, 2009

Help women win equal rights in the grapes

"I don't want women in my crew because I have had too many problems with the men being disrespectful and rude."
--Giumarra Vineyards Foreman

It’s commonplace for grape companies to discriminate against women. It happens all the time and you can help put an end to it.

Israel Herrera works at Giumarra Vineyards. After having a foreman tell him that he wouldn't hire Israel's wife, Guadalupe--who had close to 20 years experience in the grapes--he said, "I do not understand why other people's attitude should determine whether my wife works or not. She is capable of doing the job: she has done the same work with other companies."

Martha Galvan worked in several other jobs in the grape fields at Vignolo Vineyards. For years, she proved her worth. Then she applied for a job pruning grapes. A foreman and general supervisor told Martha and her fellow employees "that women did not work as fast as men. 'Women were not any good for that work. Women were lazy and he did not like women to prune or as a foreperson.'" Martha said he also would tell them, "Women are useless."

Armando Pulido saw the same thing at Kovacevich 5 Farms. He told us when he started working, "It was company policy that they did not hire women. I asked if my wife could also work there but they declined. They told me that they already had too many workers. To me it was obvious that they were discriminating against women because the company did not have a single female working there."

What would you do if this happened to you? Sue them? You're darn right. The UFW helped the workers at Kovacevich 5 Farms, based in Delano and Earlimart, to file a federal class action lawsuit. Last December, the women won a major victory when the company agreed to settle their lawsuit for $1.68 million.

This year's grape season has just begun. Discrimination is still rampant in the grape vineyards. It has to end. Please help. Your donation can help us leaflet, organize and get the word out, even file more lawsuits if necessary.

To donate go HERE.

Monday, February 23, 2009

sometimes between

gigantic thoughts and buildings i catch glimpse of a crow on the tallest tree.
Between humming or sputtering engines i'll hear clips of sweet birdsong.

there'll be a brief moment between the store and car where the air wraps around me and pulls me to stop
look up and consider the clouds. the color.
the storm over the mountains.

i dream about my mountain cabin floor. decades old the wood creaked and nails would work up here and there.sometimes crickets hid between the boards.

sometimes between fried potatoes and the neighbors laundry i can smell my sheep, almost feel them when i reach out my hand. the earth they carried.

spring is coming and im thinking of bell peppers and basil. beehives and a new fork.

sometimes in my day my eyes go blurry then all i can see is trees and horizon.
the whole sky at once lulling and commanding me to consider the clouds.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

more on the movement to resist foreclosure and reclaim empty housing

once again the good folks at democracy now! are shedding light on the groundswell of movement around the housing crisis. This story focuses on the work of the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, specifically in minneapolis. They've begun placing homeless people in the many many homes that are just sitting empty. fucking brilliant.

read/listen/watch the entire story HERE!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

bringin' a little farm flair to the city

ok...first off check this bee video. i'm gonna be all about the bees for the next 7 months while i take this get used to it. what i didn't know was that the colony is like 95% female.

and its a good sign when i'm focused enough to tackle soaking my fleeces....very good very good. market season is comin'....fuck the recession. hey,maybe more people will take up knitting....and i'm always open to barter!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

when it has all fallen apart, what do we have to lose?

this is well worth a listen....
In Michigan, Wayne County Sheriff Warren Evans announced Monday he won’t enforce sales of foreclosed homes. Wayne County includes the city of Detroit and has had more than 46,000 foreclosures in the past two years. Evans said he’d be violating the law by denying foreclosed homeowners the chance at potential federal assistance. He said, “I cannot in clear conscience allow one more family to be put out of their home until I am satisfied they have been afforded every option they are entitled to under the law to avoid foreclosure.”

Marcy Kaptur of Ohio is the longest-serving Democratic congresswoman in U.S. history. Her district, stretching along the shore of Lake Erie from west of Cleveland to Toledo, faces an epidemic of home foreclosures and 11.5 percent unemployment. That heartland region, the Rust Belt, had its heart torn out by the North American Free Trade Agreement, with shuttered factories and struggling family farms. Kaptur led the fight in Congress against NAFTA. Now, she is recommending a radical foreclosure solution from the floor of the U.S. Congress: “So I say to the American people, you be squatters in your own homes. Don’t you leave.”

the story is HERE

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

branching out

ok so here i am in town...starting to kind of get a groove...kinda....keep having to remind myself that things are just down the street or still open after dark or that there are events to attend, theres things going on, and again... right down the street, not an hour or 2 away. i'm farm trained to be up at 5:30am and done with my activities/work by nightfall. So tomorrow i'm going to venture out after dark and check out what seems to be (?) santa fe's only poetry open mic at some tea house on palace ave.

i plan to rock it.

i'm skeptical of what the crowd will be...but thats me...a cranky bitter skeptic always waiting and hoping to be pleasantly surprised.

if i'm super brave i'll head down to burque later in the month to the mas poetry slam where i know i know for sure w/out a doubt i will be awed and inspired by the diverse revolutionary force that is the poetry scene there....

but in the meantime...i'll let y'all know how it goes tomorrow night.
really,its all feeling like part of a plan to distract me from missing my sheep....damn sheep still haunt me. they made sense to me ,my life made sense w/ them
i kept them safe ,i saved their lives and god knows they saved mine many times

but now theres no sheep grease on my hands
no vigilant senses no low hum of pasture life

i wander through aisles of things
through lots full of cars and people
and i'm small and i'm lost and i'm missing something
something flocking
something all around
my body
making sense of my lonely lonely life full of purpose.

oh sigh.