Migrant Support Growing in Addison County

In response to recent deportations of Addison County farm workers, many seek to help. Refer to Know Your Rights booklet (KYR). Here is a KYR flyer to share with workers: KYR Spanish Version. Come to a check in meeting on Wed June 21, 4:30 pm in CVUUS Fenn House. Refer to Migrant Minutes May Migrant April Minutes and Migrant minutes March 2017 and to further notes below. Sign up to be added to the Addison County Migrant Ally email list by contacting office@cvuus.org.

Know Your Rights (KYR) Training  Middlebury lawyer Emily Joselson attended a livestream, 2-hour training, How to Give a “Know-Your-Rights” Presentation for Immigrants, presented by the Immigrant Defense Project (IDP) in collaboration with the CLEAR (Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility) project at CUNY School of Law and The Center for Constitutional Rights.  She’s scheduled a rebroadcasting of this 2 hour training for the larger social justice & legal community on Thurs June 22, 5:30 -7:30 pm at Middlebury’s Ilsley Library and welcomes lawyers, Open Door folks, community volunteers, Spanish-speaking volunteers & others interested in allying with the migrant farm community for a concise, excellent training that covers the following:

  • What rights do individuals have during an ICE raid, when questioned or searched at the airport, or during an interaction with immigration or law enforcement at home or in public?
  • How can you help your clients, community members, and others invoke their rights and remain safe?
  • What are the tactics that immigration and federal law enforcement use during an arrest, investigation or encounter and how can individuals protect themselves?

If you cannot attend, but would like to view the video in your own time, here is the link: https://www.immigrantdefenseproject.org/ttt-materials/.  Note that the training itself starts about 3 minutes after the video starts.

Here are the one page “Know Your Rights” pamphlets published by ACLU, in English and Spanish.  ACLU – Know Your Rights – English-v01  ACLU Know Your Rights Spanish-v01

To find out more about the groups who put this excellent training together go to IDP:  https://www.facebook.com/immdefense?utm_source=March+29+TTT&utm_campaign=73fbfde399-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_03_27&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_89c34aa89c-73fbfde399-14190224

Here’s a link to the Center for Const’l Rts: https://ccrjustice.org/

We now have the training slides available in Spanish.

Update on work toward ACLU’s 9 Local/State Law Enforcement Model Policies Meetings:

Middlebury PD:  we met with Chief Hanley, feel confident Midd PD is meeting these goals, and John Barstow will communicate our appreciation and support. See: Response to Inquiry about Sanctuary City Status

Bristol PD:  Monkton People Power met with Chief Gibbs, with the same results

Vergennes PD:  Emily will reach out to Chief George Merkel, & along with John Barstow, and anyone interested from Monkton, or elsewhere, will arrange a meeting

Addison Co. Sheriff’s Office:  John B will reach out, and along with anyone interested from Monkton, and elsewhere, will arrange a meeting

State Police/Addison Barracks:  Monkton ACLU/PP will reach out and arrange a meeting; if others are interested, email the group.

Other Initiatives

Several are working to strengthen the next mobile Mexican Consulate Visit (Sat Dec 2, 9 am- 3pm at CVUUS). See this debriefing: Mexican Consulate After thoughts. It will be publicized at the spring Mexican Consulate Visit held at Goddard College’s North Campus library in Plainfield (Sat May 20, 2017). Jessica Holmes met with officials there. The Consulate recommends inviting local banks to attend to provide information on opening accounts since saving money and sending it home is critical.

Margy Young and others have created a list of local organizations meeting and doing work in Addison County in an effort to help us avoid duplication:  https://sites.google.com/view/middleburyresistance/connect and calendar of upcoming events at https://sites.google.com/view/middleburyresistance/calendar

Wendy Goodwin (wendyg820@gmail.com) will drive migrants to shop or shop for them. Let her know if you’re willing to be a driver to shop for migrants or take them shopping or to errands.

Many efforts are being made to bring food to farms or hubs and to organize social events for cooking ethnic food.

Susan Smiley & Chris Murphy are exploring opportunities for traveling large-animal veterinarians, milk truck drivers, and others, to share KYR info with migrant community.

Several are visiting farmworkers and providing language services by tutoring in English or translating English forms or instructions to Spanish and teaching them their rights. Contact Veronica Ciambra (802-578-8696 or vciambra@gmail.com) to learn how she has done this and accompany her on a lesson or connect with other migrants seeking practice speaking English. You can check in and debrief with her at her home on Sunday afternoons. Contact her for details.

Cheryl Mitchell has been in touch with Open Door, Migrant Justice and VT Dept of Health about renewing the Farmworks Health Assessment, which hasn’t been completed since 2007.

Open Door Clinic is coordinating with many to support outreach and Know Your Rights (KYR) info to migrant community. They are a critical hub of migrant support on many levels. Visit www.opendoormidd.org and scan Vermont-Farm-Labor-Wage-and-Hour-and-Housing-Fact-Sheet-English Julia Doucet shared that there was a press call in Wash, DC on May 9 to discuss New Legislation to Protect Immigrant Farmworkers. Senator Feinstein (D-CA), Rep. Gutiérrez (D-IL), and Farmworker Justice President Bruce Goldstein joined United Farm Worker President Arturo Rodriguez,  farm workers, and farm owners to discuss the widespread implications of Trump’s immigration policies and the Agricultural Worker Program Act, legislation introduced by Senators Feinstein, Leahy (D-VT), Bennet (D-CO), Hirono (D-HI), and Harris (D-CA) to protect farm workers from deportation and put them on a pathway to legalization and citizenship. More information about the new legislation is available here. Trump’s Mass Deportation strategy has produced fear tidal waves throughout not only the immigrant communities, but all sectors of the labor force — as over half of all United States farm workers are undocumented, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, and over 8 million undocumented immigrants contribute to America’s workforce, according to Pew Research Center. Read more here: Leahy Calls for Blue Card for Farmworkers

Open Door Clinic says that one of the best things we can do to help is write to officials to push and thank for legislation changes.

Migrant Justice is working with the VLS on a labor and housing Know your Rights booklet for dairy farm workers in Vermont. They’ve done amazing research and hope to have it ready in few months. Also, they’re working with Vermont Legal Aid for family preparedness plans, and there are other projects volunteers could chime in.  They warn us to be cautious when creating lists with names, addresses and other personal information of the migrant community to avoid any risks of getting this info in the wrong hands. You can reach out to them with any inquiries (marita@migrantjustice.net). Offer these phone numbers to workers on the KYR spanish version flyer:

Teleayuda phone number 802-658-6770 for any question related to labor, housing, immigrant rights

For emergencies such as detention, accident, violence or threats of violence, death, forced labor, etc 802-881-7229

They invite anyone to join them in a March for Milk with Dignity on June 17. For more, see Migrant Justice’s Milk with Dignity Timeline

Middlebury College has been very involved:

1) Juntos, a Middlebury College student organization, aims to help migrants in many ways. They support the Mexican consulate visit each year and produced a brochure on myths around immigration that they shared at recent events. Available at Migrant Ally Group check in meetings. They seek volunteers to tutor English at their classes on campus when the college is in session and perhaps on farms over the summer or other times. Email them at juntos@middlebury.edu

2) Middlebury College’s Gloria Zenteno Gonzalez organized a screening of Clinica de Migrantes: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness on April 17, a medical drama about a year in the life of Puentes de Salud, one of the only health clinics in the U.S. involved in the politically controversial practice of providing healthcare to undocumented immigrants.

3) Hosted Milk with Dignity Explained on April 19 with speakers from Migrant Justice who discussed their efforts to organize for farmworker justice in Vermont and beyond.

Several panels have been organized including: 

1) Migrant Workers Rights Panel, April 13 in Shoreham hosted by Rights & Democracy.

2) Migrant Workers/Immigration Panel at Congregational Church of Middlebury on April 28 moderated by Emily Joselson and Andy Nagy-Benson including: Phyllis Bowdish, farm owner;  Julia Doucet, Outreach Coordinator at Open Door Clinic; Dr. Susannah McCandless, International Program Director for Global Diversity and Migrant Justice board member; Robert Zarate-Morales, Middlebury College’s Juntos organization.  We were urged us to be in touch with our federal elected officials and ask them to change immigration law to allow longer stays of at least one to two years for dairy workers. We were also asked to prioritize the teaching of English so migrants had greater capacity to access help available to them.  Immigrants in the U.S. Myth vs. Fact brochure was shared.

3) Supporting Vermont’s Migrant Farmworkers at Bristol’s Lawrence Memorial Library on May 11 hosted by One World Library. Julia Doucet and Naomi Wolcott-MacCausland presented the Huertas Project and El Viaje Mas Caro. Both programs are designed to address the unique needs of Vermont’s migrant worker population.

Middlebury Indivisible meets the second Monday of every month at CVUUS and is discussing migrant support as well as other issues. They’re hosting an  “activist meetup” on Sunday June 11 at Kingsland Bay State park in place of their Monday meeting in June. It’s a potluck picnic starting at noon, and is open to all members of activist groups (and their families). The idea is to connect. Some activities include: paint positive signs: in the vein of the sign in the bushes at Marble works: “Kindness matters” -Sing!

Middlebury SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice) meets on the 1st Thursday of every month. Migrant Justice has been the focus of their recent meetings. They organized  a family friendly sign making party at Otter Creek Yoga in the Marbleworks for the May Day: the March for Dignity in Burlington to demand justice for farmworkers and human rights for all. All were invited to check out the May SURJ meeting, enjoy some cake, and write postcards to Ben and Jerry’s encouraging them to support the Milk with Dignity campaign (see sample below). They raised $500 for Migrant Justice and $500 for Open Door Clinic with a screening of The Long Ride on Sun May 21, 7 pm at Middlebury’s Marquis Theater. It told the story of the historic 2003 Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride that sparked the birth of the new Civil Rights Movement for immigrant workers in the United States.

http://www.sfchronicle.com/news/article/Documentary-shows-how-we-re-going-backward-on-11050443.php

http://www.ithaca.com/entertainment/film/documentary-chronicles-civil-rights-movement-for-immigrants/article_9785d708-09a2-11e7-b51f-c7b176a96951.html

Mr. Jostein Solheim, CEO

Ben and Jerry’s Homemade, Inc.

30 Community Drive

South Burlington, Vermont 05403-6828

Dear Mr.  Solheim:

Dairy workers have spoken with you directly about the unacceptable housing and working conditions that they face every day. And yet Ben & Jerry’s postpones progress with excuses, when the solutions are ready to launch: join and implement the Milk with Dignity Program.

You cannot proudly advertise Ben & Jerry’s commitment to racial equity while delaying dignity for workers in the company’s own dairy supply chain. I can only measure Ben & Jerry’s commitment to social justice by actions.

Thus far, Ben & Jerry’s actions prefer the illusion of “happy cows” to the reality of human rights. The Milk with Dignity Program is a powerful tool to fight the systemic injustice, racism, and human rights crisis in the dairy supply chain. Milk with Dignity offers a holistic approach to workers’ rights that brings together farmers and farmworkers to achieve worker- defined human rights standards.

I stand with Migrant Justice and urge you to fully join and implement Migrant Justice’s ilk with Dignity Program and make an unequivocal commitment to human rights in your dairy supply chain today.

Sincerely,