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 Michigan Migrant Legal Aid Nov. 2016

Natalia Gomez Linares
Migrant Legal Aid Mourns Loss of Devoted Board Member
October 2016, Natalia Gomez Linares passed away at the young age of 50. Natalia was a loving wife, devoted mother of twin boys, a tireless advocate for migrant children, an accomplished poet, and a renowned GVSU Professor.  Always generous, at her recent birthday party, she encouraged friends to donate to Migrant Legal Aid in her honor. 
Natalia knew that information can save lives, and that many genetic mutations for cancer, like her BRCA 1, can be dealt with early to save lives --only if people know about it. Natalia was an inspiration to so many of her students and friends, and she led the introduction of a Michigan bill to require doctors to refer patients to genetic counseling if they meet certain criteria. Natalia expects her colleagues to carry on her advocacy for migrant rights, and for women's health. Nine days before she passed, she sent email  instructions with directions for continuing advocacy. That's Natalia! Her bill is Early Detection Matters - SB 1113 It was introduced to the Michigan Senate on October 18, 2016.  The bill will ensure that patients who are carrying a cancer gene (mutation) have early warning and indeed survive.
Latinos Leaders Meet up in Lansing for  LLEAD Conference 

LLEAD Conference's keynote speaker Arturo Vargas,  from the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. 

LLEAD President Al Flores and Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero welcomed leaders to the conference. Motivational speaker Aida Cuadrado rallied the crowd in preparation for break-out sessions before featured Speaker Dr. Eric Juenke reviewed his research on latino politics within the US. electrol institutions. Keynote speaker Mr. Atruro Vargas spoke about the importance and influence of the latino vote in deciding the previous four elections.

Roberto Torres (Director, Hispanic Center West MI) and Teresa Hendricks (Director/Senior Litigator Migrant Legal Aid) at LLEAD Conference in Lansing, MI
2016 Farmworker Conference 
MLA Attorney Benjamin O'Hearn 

The 2016 Conference for Farmworkers, Service Providers, and Growers was held on October 19, 2016 and was very well received. Keynote speaker , Supervisory Special Agent Michael R. Glennon of the FBI, discussed human trafficking. The second keynote speaker, Jeremy Norwood, Associate Professor at Spring Arbor University, discussed human trafficking indicators among migrants. State agencies updated the audience on what was going on in their agencies, and their plans for the future.
A panel of experts discussed labor trends in Michigan. MLA's own Director, Teresa Hendricks, discussed the risks facing employees recruited as H2A laborers, and the effects the H2A program is having on local workers.
Breakout sessions included pesticide safety, civil rights, immigration, and health and safety.
MLA is grateful to everyone who made this possible, especially Audra Fuentes, Dale Freeman, and the conference planning committee (which MLA staff attorney Benjamin O'Hearn is a part of), Antonio Castro-Escobar (who presented on Pesticide Safety at MLA's request), and the conference sponsors.
The Latino Vote in 2016
Let's examine the evidence: Latino voters have increasingly wider influence and political clout over the last 100 years. 

While Hillary Clinton visits a largely Republican suburb of Central Florida, Husband Bill heads to Immokalee, home to a supporters of the Democratic nominee.  Unfortunately for Democrats of the 17,000 adults voting age, which census says in 75% Hispanic, only just over 4,000 are registered to vote.  

Watching the constitutional arguments in play in New York, a win for farmworkers' right to unionize could serve as example for other states and with other laws that exempt agricultural labor from protections. Like many laws, migrant farmworkers are excluded from the National Labor Relations Act which protects workers from retaliation if they try to organize a union. 
Tom Hayden, Cesar Chavez and domestic workers leader Ken Msemaji leading a march honoring Malcolm X in May 1977.
From United Farm Workers:  Mourning the passing of activist Tom Hayden.
Tom Hayden was a champion of the farm workers during his 18 years in the California Legislature in the 1980s and '90s.The farm worker movement learned of his passing on Sunday at age 76.  Mr. Hayden worked closely with the United Farm Workers (UFW) when Cesar Chavez and farm workers campaigned for him during his 1976 U.S. Senate candidacy in California.  During that time, Mr. Hayeden  backed the union during key political, legislative and organizing campaigns. The UFW also participated with Tom Hayden and his Campaign for Economic Democracy, the progressive political and social organization he formed with his then wife, Jane Fonda.

Call to boycott berries sold by Lidl over supplier's alleged workers' rights abuses  MEXICAN fruit workers have asked Scots consumers to boycott berries sold in the Lidl supermarket chain amid allegations of slave labour, unsafe working conditions and harassment.

Why I pick your lettuce
Do you ever wonder who picked the lettuce for your salad? Or why they do it?

Congratulations to Kathryn Youker and team at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid for a meaningful court victory. Fearless litigators are sometimes in short supply in legal services programs. Enhorabuena Abogadas de TRLA!
MLA is dedicated to defending and preserving farmworker jobs, dignity, health, housing, income, and legal rights.  
Teresa Hendricks
Migrant Legal Aid
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