¡Sí, se puede!
Dolores Huerta is Coming!
Harvest of Justice - Save the Date: September 23 Luncheon
Our annual Harvest of Justice event will be held on September 23rd, 2020 at the Prince Conference Center. Harvest of Justice is our annual Fall event where we have the opportunity to share our accomplishments and talk about our services with attendees. It is a fundraising luncheon for critical services protecting the community of migrant farmworkers.

This year, we have the great honor and pleasure of welcoming guest speaker Dolores Huerta, the Founder and President of the Dolores Huerta Foundation. Dolores Huerta and with Cesar Chavez pioneered the fight for farmworker and labor rights. They also co-founded the National Farmworkers Association. It is a true privilege to have such a passionate, influential, and inspirational activist at our event. We hope you will be able to join us.

Sponsorship opportunities and RSVP will be released in the near future
Growing Connections Food Summit
On January 31, Migrant Legal Aid's staff members attended the Growing Connections Food Summit hosted by the Office of Sustainability Practices at Grand Valley State University. The Summit was part of GVSU's Sustainability Agriculture Project which teaches students and other community members about "plants, the environment, human-environmental interaction, systems thinking, and community".

At the Summit, Migrant Legal Aid talked to attendees about joining our Fair Food Project and our other programs. Whereas our primary enforcement tool is our class action litigation, workers asked for another, more expedient option that allows us to closely monitor their conditions in real time and resolve labor disputes immediately , before they move on to the next state or crop. With the support of members and vendors in the food supply chain, our Fair Food Project has helped farm workers stop unsafe or unfair labor practices --in a matter of minutes or hours. The Fair Food Program of Migrant Legal Aid encourages food brokers and consumers to purchase produce from employers who treat their workers well, and allows them to avoid exploitation in the food supply chain.

We also had the chance to talk to other organizations about their efforts to create local, sustainable food economies. It was a great opportunity to learn about food and its effects on our community and teach other organizations the human (and economic) value of our migrant farmworkers.
Talking to Outreach Workers About the 2020 Census
Later this month, Farmworker Census Outreach Coordinator for Migrant Legal Aid, Jennifer Churay, will be speaking at the Census Training for Outreach Workers event hosted by the Interagency Migrant Services Committee's (IMSC) Outreach & Education Subcommittee, along with Migrant Legal Aid.

Ms. Churay has researched and been trained on the 2020 Census in order to execute our outreach plan to inform Migrant and Seasonal Farm Workers (MSFWs) about the power of the Census and encourage them to be counted. MSFWs are traditionally undercounted in the Census which puts them at risk for losing access to programs such as school lunches and Migrant Headstart due to lack of funding.

At the training event, Ms. Churay will be sharing what she has learned about MSFWs and the Census in order to teach other outreach workers how to talk to MSFWs about the importance of completing the Census.
Educating the Community About Cultural Competency
Our Office Director, Teresa Hendricks, is continuing to spread the word about our Defending Against Hate program. The program works with the community, law enforcement and school systems to reduce acts of hate and harassment toward our clients.

In January, she presented to many groups of students at Wyoming Community Education and elsewhere about cultural competency and some of the challenges that Migrant and Seasonal Farm Workers face in our community.

In addition, her "Know your Power" presentation helps the community prepare for encounters with ICE and Law Enforcement.
Racism and Bullying in Local Michigan Schools:
"Why didn't you stay in Mexico?"
On Monday February 3rd, Saline Area Schools hosted a parent meeting to address racism and bullying in their schools.

One parent, who is originally from Mexico, stood up to share his son's story of being racially targeted and harassed at school. However, while he was speaking, another parent interrupted him with the comment "Why didn't you stay in Mexico?"

Many of the parents in the room responded with shock and disgust, but the parent's racist comment is indicative of the type of bullying and racism students are facing, not only in Saline schools, but in schools across Michigan and the rest of the country.

Migrant Legal Aid's Defending Against Hate Program is designed to educate the community about being culturally competent in hopes of eliminating the systemic racism and bullying we see in schools and law enforcement. Click here to learn more about the program and read client stories.
Bring the Basics
Migrant Legal Aid is registered as a collection location for Heart of West Michigan United Way's (HWMUW) "Bring the Basics' Collection Drive. The collection drive is running now through March 16.

Drop of donations at our office located at 1104 Fuller Ave NE to help community members in need. We are collecting items such as dentail and hair care items. body wash, menstrual products, diapers, disinfectants, laundry soap, toilet paper, towels, sheets, pillows, blankets, and more.

To see a full list of items, check our HWMUW's Amazon Wish List.

The donations will be distributed by the following organizations to people in Kent County who are unable to afford them: YWCA, Exodus Place, Dwelling Place, Kent County Juvenile Detention, HQ Drop-In Center, 3:11 Youth Housing, Meals on Wheels, and Safe Havens Minestries.
Commemorating the 20th Anniversary of the
Trafficking Victims Protection Act
On January 31st, the White House held a Human Trafficking Summit to mark the 20th anniversity of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act focuses on "a three-pronged approach that includes prevention, protection, and prosecution" in order to help victims of trafficking ( National Human Trafficking Hotline).

At the Summit, President Trump signed an executive order "dedicating more resources to the fight against it, and created a new White House position" ( WOODTV 8).

Migrant Legal Aid helps farm workers who are victims of trafficking by assisting them in escaping traffickers and applying for T Visas. Learn more about our Migrants Overcoming Violent Environments program here.

To read more about the executive order, click here.