The cars of the migrant people crawled out of the side roads onto the great cross-country highway, and they took the migrant way to the West.... And because they were lonely and perplexed, because they had all come from a place of sadness and worry and defeat, and because they were all going to a mysterious new place, ... a strange thing happened: the twenty families became one family, the children were the children of all. The loss of home became one loss, and the golden time in the West was one dream.
Another Mexican American in another class, approaches Victor after class, carrying his copy of Fahrenheit 451, required reading for the course. The student doesn't understand the reference to a salon. Victor explains that this is just another word for the living room. No understanding in the student's eyes. He tries Spanish: la salon. Still nothing. The student has grown up as a migrant worker. And Victor remembers the white student who had been in his class a quarter ago, who had written about not understanding racism, that there was none where he had grown up, in Wennatchee, that he has played with the children of his father's migrant workers without there being any hostility. His father's workers. Property. Property that doesn't know of living rooms. And Victor thought of what the man from Wennatchee knew, what the ROTC Mexican American knew, what the migrant worker knew. And he thought of getting up the next morning to go with Serena to St. Mary's for cheese and butter. And he knew there was something he was not doing in his composition classrooms.
We were to write a short essay on one of the works we read in the course and relate it to our lives. I chose the "Allegory of the Cave" in Plato's Republic. I compared my childhood of growing up in a family of migrant workers with the prisoners who were in a dark cave chained to the floor and facing a blank wall. I wrote that, like the captives, my family and other migrant workers were shackled to the fields day after day, seven days a week, week after week, being paid very little and living in tents or old garages that had dirt floors, no indoor plumbing, no electricity. I described how the daily struggle to simply put food on our tables kept us from breaking the shackles, from turning our lives around. I explained that faith and hope for a better life kept us going. I identified with the prisoner who managed to escape and with his sense of obligation to return to the cave and help others break free.
How do geese know when to fly to the sun? Who tells them the seasons? How do we, humans know when it is time to move on? As with the migrant birds, so surely with us, there is a voice within if only we would listen to it, that tells us certainly when to go forth into the unknown.
The worst example of rural poverty is that of migrant farm workers. They have no permanent jobs, so they have no equity in the places where they work. They're not shareholders, let alone entrepreneurs. They're not small farmers, they're not market gardeners, they're just temporary - uprooted, isolated, easily exploitable people.
I like talking about people who don't have any power and it seems like some of the least powerful people in the United States are the migrant workers who come and do our work and don't have any rights as a result. And yet we still invite them to come here, and at the same time ask them to leave.
I remember as a little girl going down to the beet fields in the Dakotas and in Nebraska and Wyoming as migrant workers when I was very, very small, like, I was, like, 5 years old, I believe. And I remember going out there, you know, traveling to these states and living in these little tarpaper shacks that they had in Wyoming.
My non American viewers. Who understand that the world does not consist solely of a single nation sailing across an infinite sea of migrant workers. Will no doubt have heard that the waters surrounding Brisbane got tired of waiting for people to hit the beach and decided to bring the party to us.
I think that Canada is one of the most impressive countries in the world, the way it has managed a diverse population, a migrant economy. The natural beauty of Canada is extraordinary. Obviously there is enormous kinship between the United States and Canada, and the ties that bind our two countries together are things that are very important to us.
After graduation, I wanted to work for 'Sassy', which I loved, but it had folded. So I wound up at 'Seventeen' for three years on staff and two as a contributor, and I wrote these great stories that nobody ever believes 'Seventeen' does. Serious stories for teens about social justice issues - gun control, migrant farm workers.
Adjunct teachers are the professorial equivalent of the migrant Mexican farm laborers hired during harvest. If you can get a good contract at the same farm every year, where the farmer pays you on time and doesn't cheat or abuse you, then it's in your best interest to show up consistently from year to year.
Many governments and corporations take no moral responsibility for the enslavement of migrant workers and freely do business with states built on the back of slave labour. Illicit financial flows and tax evasion are ignored in the interests of some nations and their corporations, stripping the tax base that is so vital for essential services.
All walls fall. Today, tomorrow or in 100 years, they will fall. It's not a solution. The wall isn't a solution. In this moment, Europe is in difficult, it's true. We have to be intelligent, and whoever comes...that migrant flow. It's not easy to find solutions, but with dialogue between nations they should be found. Walls are never solutions. But bridges are, always, always.
Not only after two or three centuries, but in a million years, life will still be as it was; life does not change, it remains for ever, following its own laws which do not concern us, or which, at any rate, you will never find out. Migrant birds, cranes for example, fly and fly, and whatever thoughts, high or low, enter their heads, they will still fly and not know why or where. They fly and will continue to fly, whatever philosophers come to life among them; they may philosophize as much as they like, only they will fly....
Why do we resist giving help to homeless men? In part because we don't understand how our pressure on men to support families often forces men to take transient jobs that are but a step away from homelessness (the death-of-a-salesman jobs, the migrant worker jobs...) and in part because we respond differently to men who fail [than women who fail].
There is something heroic in the way a migrant abandons his native land. Nevertheless, in his everyday life, he is fragile, confused, and at times ridiculous, like a card player who dreams of that one amazing trick but lacks essential knowledge of the rules of the game. He thought that he had arrived in a place where everything would be easy, where help would be at hand, where people would explain the rules to him, and not only that, would praise him if he managed to beat them. Now he discovers that his idols don't give a damn about him; he discovers something worse; that no-one asked him to come, that he is there uninvited and nobody notices him. An invisible creature, which , on the rare occasions it is noticed, inspires either momentary pity or enduring disgust.
Jerusalem! My Love, My Town I wept until my tears were dry I prayed until the candles flickered I knelt until the floor creaked I asked about Mohammed and Christ Oh Jerusalem, the fragrance of prophets The shortest path between earth and sky Oh Jerusalem, the citadel of laws A beautiful child with fingers charred and downcast eyes You are the shady oasis passed by the Prophet Your streets are melancholy Your minarets are mourning You, the young maiden dressed in black Who rings the bells at the Nativity Church, On sunday morning? Who brings toys for the children On Christmas eve? Oh Jerusalem, the city of sorrow A big tear wandering in the eye Who will halt the aggression On you, the pearl of religions? Who will wash your bloody walls? Who will safeguard the Bible? Who will rescue the Quran? Who will save Christ, From those who have killed Christ? Who will save man? Oh Jerusalem my town Oh Jerusalem my love Tomorrow the lemon trees will blossom And the olive trees will rejoice Your eyes will dance The migrant pigeons will return To your sacred roofs And your children will play again And fathers and sons will meet On your rosy hills My town The town of peace and olives
Civic imagination and innovation and creativity are emerging from local ecosystems now and radiating outward, and this great innovation, this great wave of localism that's now arriving, and you see it in how people eat and work and share and buy and move and live their everyday lives, this isn't some precious parochialism, this isn't some retreat into insularity, no. This is emergent. The localism of our time is networked powerfully. And so, for instance, consider the ways that strategies for making cities more bike-friendly have spread so rapidly from Copenhagen to New York to Austin to Boston to Seattle. Think about how experiments in participatory budgeting, where everyday citizens get a chance to allocate and decide upon the allocation of city funds. Those experiments have spread from Porto Alegre, Brazil to here in New York City, to the wards of Chicago. Migrant workers from Rome to Los Angeles and many cities between are now organizing to stage strikes to remind the people who live in their cities what a day without immigrants would look like. In China, all across that country, members of the New Citizens' Movement are beginning to activate and organize to fight official corruption and graft, and they're drawing the ire of officials there, but they're also drawing the attention of anti-corruption activists all around the world. In Seattle, where I'm from, we've become part of a great global array of cities that are now working together bypassing government altogether, national government altogether, in order to try to meet the carbon reduction goals of the Kyoto Protocol. All of these citizens, united, are forming a web, a great archipelago of power that allows us to bypass brokenness and monopolies of control.