¡Sí, se puede!
Safety for Migrant Farmworkers
Pesticide Education Grant
We received a new EPA grant that will help us expand on our work it previously funded to create two new tools to educate the community about pesticides and the revised Worker Protection Standard (WPS). The requirements in the WPS are intended to inform workers and handlers about pesticide safety, provide protections from potential exposure to pesticides, and mitigate exposures that do occur. Over the next year, we will be giving presentations to three audiences, aimed at reducing workers' risks from pesticide exposure. Farm owners, migrant workers, and healthcare providers will learn how to better protect themselves and the workforce. The presentations will inform people about the new updates to the Worker Protection Standard, and provide farm owners with the new Resource Guide for Agricultural Employers in Michigan that we developed with our advisory group. Although the WPS is a national standard, The Resource Guide also contains Michigan Practice Tips for our state's growers. Workers groups will also benefit from the WPS Pocket Card, designed by our advisory group, for them to carry on their person for easy access to information and resources.
We are working with Heart of West Michigan United Way to spread the word about the 2020 Census. We are passing out information on outreach, collecting contact information, and posting on our social media pages to inform the Grand Rapids and Migrant Farm Worker communities about the upcoming Census.

Visit the Census tab on our website for more information, and don't forget to follow us on social media:
Educating the Local Community
What is the fastest rising fear among migrant farm workers? It is fear of being the subject of hate or harassment, and fear of standing up for oneself -or one's school-age children-- when parents need to make a complaint to law enforcement, or to the school; or when summoned to appear in court (as a victim or witness), and, fear of increased ICE encounters, with Michigan having the 2nd largest number of ICE encounters in the country. Over the last month, our Director, Teresa Hendricks, has done five presentations (three classroom presentations and two judicial staff presentations) as part of our Defending Against Hate (DAH) program. Educating migrant parents on how to handle ICE encounters is now our most sought-after interactive presentation.

These are some of the ways we are working to raise awareness of, and reduce hate toward, our migrant and immigrant community members, which includes educating community groups about migrant workers’ lives and how their work benefits the entire community. 

Visit our website for more information on this program.
Update on Young, Migrant Mother of Two
In July, we posted a fundraiser on our Facebook page for a young, migrant mother of two who was severely beaten and sexually assaulted. Thanks to the generosity of community members and other supporters, we were able to raise $1,295 over the course of two days to donate to the mother in order for her to provide for herself and her children. Because of Migrant Legal Aid and assistance from other community workers, she continues to recover in a safe house. She was able to testify against her attacker and he is now in prison where he cannot hurt her or her children. It is our aim to obtain a U Visa for her, as a result of her bravery and cooperation with law enforcement.
State and Federal Legislative News Impacting Michigan Farm
In October, a few bills were proposed at the state and local levels that are aimed at helping immigrants get documents and take advantage of other rights and resources.

One bill, called The New Deal for New Americans Act, will help immigrants have better access to voter registration, English classes, professional development, legal assistance, and refugee programs. To learn more about and endorse this bill, click here. The website also includes links to contact your member of Congress, policy summaries, and social media guides.

Driver's Licenses for All
In Michigan, Senator Stephanie Chang and State Representatives Alex Garza and Rachel Hood introduced a bill that will help undocumented immigrants in Michigan get driver's licenses, making our roads safer. The mayor and commissioners of Grand Rapids already offered support of the bill in a letter to Governor Gretchen Whitmer and state legislators. To read more about the proposed bill and the press conference that was held on October 31st, check out this news article.
Proposed New Bill Could Lead to Citizenship for Farmworkers
"Lawmakers have struck a deal that would give legal status to hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrant farmworkers in exchange for stronger employee verification in the agricultural sector..."

Photo Source: Michael Macor / The San Francisco Chronicle