RMC: Welcoming Message May 2010


Rural Media Center Kick Off
The Rural Media Center is injecting some sensibility and neighborliness into the immigration conversation through our small town newspapers. Each month has a different theme or message that cuts through divisive portrayals of immigration and immigrants and holds up our vision of a Welcoming Community – slowly but surely shifting consciousness and taking power back from big media.
Together we make a greater impact than when we act alone!


 Message of May: I want a community where all workers are protected and respected!

Anti-immigrant activists are moving legislation forward that divides our communities and hurts all of us – using immigrants as the wedge. Creating a climate of fear and hostility does not build the community that we want. See ROP’s Ropnet for all the details about bad new ballot measures and bad new laws.
On May 1st, we celebrate May Day – a wonderful holiday that pays tribute to and unites all of us workers. This month offers the opportunity to hold up our values: that work and workplaces should promote dignity and democracy, for immigrants and citizens alike.
The story below from the United Farm Workers is dramatic – I encourage you to share your own story about the power of uniting workers and why you think it’s critical to you that work promotes dignity for all.
Through collective action, we have the power to create a culture of justice and respect that does not have room for racial profiling and intimidation. The purpose of the Rural Media Center is to take a community building approach to changing the hearts and minds of our neighbors. Through our letters to the editor, each month we will share our human dignity values in ways that affirm that our immigrant neighbors are important and welcome parts of our community and invite the rest of the community to stand with us in diffusing the fear, hate, and ignorance that can allow anti-immigrant sentiment to grow.
The United Farm Workers shares this story with us about the exploitation of California grape pickers. Alma Quinones felt ill one day while working in the cold storage area. Too sick to continue, Alma visited a nearby clinic. There a doctor gave her very bad news: She had suffered a miscarriage. After treating her, he advised her to take a couple of days off from work. "I talked to my forewoman, Virginia," Alma recalls. "She told me not to worry. But when I went back two days later, my position was taken….I felt terrible." She had lost her baby and her job. 

Talking Points
          I want to see all my neighbors, all the families in our town, treated with respect and dignity.
          This May I am honoring May Day, looking around at the workers in our town and what we all contribute to keeping our city a vibrant place to live. Respecting each worker as a valuable member of our community, deserving of a good day’s wage and a safe working environment, is what makes this place great. Thanks to the fire fighters, farm laborers, teachers, construction workers, & restaurant workers for all that you do.
          I want all workers to be respected and valued for what they contribute. The only way to make sure all workers receive a fair wage and good working conditions is to make sure no one is exploited on the job. It raises the standard of living for everyone when immigrants & other vulnerable folks are treated with the same respect and dignity that other workers receive. 
          I value having a diverse community and a diverse workforce. Workers are members of our community and should be visible with rights and voices.

Sample Letter
This May Day, I want to say thank you to all the workers out there who are the backbone of our local economy.   To make ___(your town) strong and vibrant, we need to ensure that everyone is respected and valued on the jobsite and in our town. There cannot be a ‘second-class’ of worker that have less rights and live in constant fear. Immigrants are important members of our community. I value their contributions and want our town to be a safe place for all of us to live and work. This May Day, let’s keep our town from falling into the trap of “us versus them”. All working people are stronger when we are united and treated with dignity.
Name, Address, Phone number
Write your letter
Submit it
Tell Kari if it’s printed, cara@rop.org
Send all questions and concerns to cara@rop.org


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