Culture

The People In The Fields: Coachella Valley Farm Worker Documentary Project

In the background, silent, with worn faces and weathered hands, a group of people pick produce or fruit, sorting or packing goods. “Bultos,” says Noé Montes, a Los Angeles-based photographer. A bulge in the ground, that’s how most people imagine farm workers, he says.



Montes, who grew up in a family of farmworkers that labored in California’s Central and San Joaquin Valleys, started taking photos of farmworkers early on in his career and mainly on his personal time. But after applying and being awarded a fellowship from the Alicia Patterson Foundation, he narrowed his initial idea of doing a statewide farmworker photo project down to the Coachella Valley area.



He eventually settled on an idea: the Coachella Valley Farm Workers project.





Montes interviewed and photographed 15 residents throughout a two-year span starting in 2015. All of them come from different backgrounds. Some immigrated to the US under the Bracero program, others came undocumented looking for work in the fields, and some were children of farm workers that went to college and now returned in hopes of uplifting their community.



Coachella Valley Farm Workers -Jeronimo Estrada- Jeronimo was born in 1962 in the state of Guerrero in Mexico. Among the reasons he left school was that he had started to see Mexico as a failed state and realized that an education would not necessarily pull him out of poverty, “Many people in Mexico have to live resigned to poverty.” Over the years he walked the hundred mile distance between the U.S-Mexico border to the Coachella Valley six or seven times, sometimes in the desert heat, he says it’s what you had to do. Jeronimo came to the U.S. to work in the fields, he has raised a family and bought a home and he continues to work in the fields. Jeronimo’s son, Castulo, is the Assistant Engineer for Coachella, CA and the Vice President of the Board of the Coachella Valley Water District. In this position Castulo is involved in making decisions and recommendations as to how Riverside County’s resources get allocated. For the first time in history, the population of the Eastern Coachella Valley has a seat at the table when decisions about services and infrastructure are being made. —See the whole project at coachellafarmworkers.com, link in my Bio— #coachella #coachellavalley #farmworkers #immigration #labor #foodsystems #socialjustice #americaneconomy #documentaryphotography #photography #aliciapattersonfoundation #community #generationalprogress

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Montes said he didn’t want to show the common image of a farmworker hunched over in the fields, but an intimate side of their lives at home, at a playground where they grew up, or with their partners.



“They’re not a symbol of poverty or a metaphor for inequality,” Montes said. “They’re people.”



Coachella Valley Farm Workers- Juan Torres and Margarita Torres- Working in the fields is hard arduous work that many people do for their entire lives. There is no health insurance and there are no retirement plans. People work until their bodies can’t do it anymore and then they have to figure out how they are going to survive the rest of their lives. If they are lucky they have a little bit of savings or their family helps them. Some people have Medi-Cal or Medicaid but most people don’t. Many retired farmworkers live on only the few hundred dollars they receive from social security every month. Margarita Torres. Juan’s wife, passed away in 2015. —Read the rest of his profile and see the whole project at coachellafarmworkers.com, link in my Bio— #coachella #coachellavalley #farmworkers #immigration #labor #foodsystems #socialjustice #americaneconomy #documentaryphotography #photography #aliciapattersonfoundation #community #generationalprogress #healthcarereform

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Montes said that he understands that life working the fields is tough. Many of the issues that farmworkers were fighting over 50 years ago — like shading or bathrooms — or dealing with — homelessness, domestic violence — are still the ones seen in their lives.



Coachella Valley Farm Workers -Silvia Paz- Silvia photographed where she grew up in La Peña, a mobile home park just southeast of the town of Mecca California. Half of her family stayed in the border town of Mexicali because they did not have legal residency in the United States. Her mother worked in the fields in the Coachella Valley in order to sustain both households. She remembers her childhood as carefree but as she started growing up she began to think about inequality. Her mother’s situation seemed especially unfair to her and she began to question the fairness of a system in which there was such a lack of opportunity for people with very limited resources. Silvia excelled in school and received a B.A. in English from the University of San Diego and a Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard University with the goal of returning to the Eastern Coachella Valley to work for the betterment of her community. Currently she is interested in trying some of the ideas of the Government Alliance on Race and Equity in the valley. These ideas stem from the fact that many of the countries current policies and systems reflect institutional racism that was in place when those systems were developed, to address this the decision-making matrix in government moving forward should include an equity analysis. —Read the rest of Silvia’s profile and see the whole project at coachellafarmworkers.com, link in my Bio— #coachella #coachellavalley #farmworkers #immigration #labor #foodsystems #socialjustice #americaneconomy #documentaryphotography #photography #aliciapattersonfoundation #community #generationalprogress #GovernmentAllianceonRaceandEquity

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Yet, his upbringing gave him an appreciation for the social assets that farmworkers possess.



“Because I grew up in that community I know what those people are like: very intelligent, very sophisticated thinkers. They have so much to give to their own community but also to society in a larger way, our understanding of each other,” Montes said.





Montes is currently working on exhibitions locally to showcase his photos.



Coachella Valley Farm Workers Maria Machuca (photographed with her father Simon Machuca) Maria credits people working before her in the community as people with vision and sees herself as part of that continuum. She is loving and protective of her community and tries to balance progress with tradition. Her experience has taught her that through a process of building relationships with people that are different than you things get accomplished. “If you do the work, change happens”. She does the work, day after day, year after year. Seeing the positive change in her community nurtures her and gives her energy. — Read the rest of Maria's profile and see the whole project at coachellafarmworkers.com, link in my Bio — #coachella #coachellavalley #farmworkers #immigration #labor #foodsystems #socialjustice #americaneconomy #documentaryphotography #photography #aliciapattersonfoundation #community

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For now, he’s posting regular updates on his Instagram.





Visit the Coachella Valley Farm Workers Project here.

Three Other Minneapolis Police Charged In George Floyd’s Murder, Chauvin’s Murder Charge Upgraded

Things That Matter

Three Other Minneapolis Police Charged In George Floyd’s Murder, Chauvin’s Murder Charge Upgraded

Stephen Maturen / Getty Images

Update June 3, 2020, 12:17 p.m. PST: Protests for justice for George Floyd have continued unabated for a week across the country. The protests are having an effect on the investigation into the murder of George Floyd and Attorney General Keith Ellison is pursuing more charges.

Senator Amy Klobuchar broke the news on Twitter about the new charges being filed in George Floyd’s death.

Sen. Klobuchar represents Minnesota and has received criticism over her tenure as the Hennepin County district attorney. Sen. Klobuchar did not seek charges against fired police officer Derek Chauvin in a 2006 police-involved shooting. Chauvin is the man seen in the video kneeling on George Floyd’s neck.

After a week of sustained and growing protests across the country, AG Ellison is upgrading Chauvin’s charges from third-degree murder to second-degree murder and the three other officers in the video will be charged with aiding and abating second-degree murder.

“This is a bittersweet moment for the family of George Floyd,” reads a statement by George Floyd’s family and their attorney Benjamin Crump in a joint statement. “We are deeply gratified that Attorney General Keith Ellison took decisive action in this case, arresting and charging all the officers involved in George Floyd’s death and upgrading the charge against Derek Chauvin to felony second-degree murder.”

Update June 1, 2020, 2:00 p.m. PST: An independent autopsy paid for by George Floyd’s family has found that he died as a result of asphyxiation. The announcement comes after days of unrest across the country that has attracted international attention and support.

An independent autopsy conducted at the request of George Floyd’s family claims that his death was a homicide.

According to multiple reports, an independent autopsy on George Floyd found that he died as a result of “homicide caused by asphyxia due to neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain.”

According to the autopsy conducted by Dr. Michael Baden and Dr. Allecia Wilson, Floyd died at the scene from the weight of the officers on top of him. His being handcuffed and his positioning on the ground by the cops contributed to his death.

“What we found is consistent with what people saw,” Dr. Baden said in an emailed release, according to HuffPost. “There is no other health issue that could cause or contribute to the death. Police have this false impression that if you can talk, you can breathe. That’s not true.”

Minneapolis officials have not released a full report on the medical examiner’s autopsy. However, officials have made it a point to say that there was no evidence that Floyd died of asphyxiation from the officer kneeling on his back and neck.

The country has witnessed ongoing protests since the video of Floyd’s death circulated on social media. Derek Chauvin, the police officer who kneeled on Floyd’s neck, has been arrested and charged with Floyd’s death. Protesters are demanding that the three other officers, who have been fired, be arrested for assisting and contributing to Floyd’s death.

Original: George Floyd is the latest Black man killed by the police. The Minneapolis resident was allegedly trying to pass a counterfeit $20 when police were called. The resulting arrest and death were captured on video and have gone viral on social media. Stephen Jackson, one of Floyd’s closest friends is rallying support against the police officers responsible.

Fired police officer Derek Chauvin has been arrested for George Floyd’s death.

The news broke on the morning of May 29 the fired police officer Chauvin was arrested for Floyd’s death. Black leaders gathered at Minneapolis City Hall and cautiously celebrated the news of justice. Organizers and community members are not satisfied with one arrest. Protesters and organizers are calling for all of the officers involved in Floyd’s death to be arrested. He is being charged with thrid-degree murder and manslaughter.

Floyd’s arrested sparked national outrage and reignited the “I Can’t Breathe” protests. The death of Floyd reminded people or Eric Garner who told police he couldn’t breathe when he was killed in 2014.

Minneapolis has faced mounting pressure from around the country as protests have sprung up demanding justice. The nation has been watching images of Minneapolis on social media and news channels.

Stephen Jackson, a former NBA player and Floyd’s best friend, has taken to social media to grieve and organize.

Jackson took to Instagram when he first learned about Floyd’s death. Jackson shared that Floyd had moved to Minnesota to get his life back on track. Floyd was working as a truck driver and was changing his life, according to Jackson.

“This is what I’ve got to wake up to. This is what I’ve got to wake up to, huh? Floyd was my brother, man,” Jackson says in the video. “We called each other twin, bro. Everybody knows that me and Floyd called each other twin.”

Jackson adds: “My boy was doing what he was supposed to do and y’all killed my brother, man. I’m on my way to Minnesota, man. Whatever I can do. I can’t let this ride, dawg. Y’all not going to be mad until this hits your front door. It’s bullshit.”

The sentiment has been echoed by supporters of Floyd who are seeking justice.

Surveillance footage released from a restaurant where the arrest took place shows a different story than what was originally reported by the police. The police officers at the scene claimed that Floyd was resisting arrest and that that was when the officers attacked. According to released surveillance video, Floyd was not resisting arrest.

The four officers involved in the death have been fired from the Minneapolis Police Department, but people are demanding justice.

Protests have popped up across the country as people demand justice for Floyd’s death. Derek Chauvin, the police officer identified as the man who knelt on Floyd’s neck till he died, has 18 complaints against him for excessive force. Protesters are demanding the Chauvin face charges for the death of Floyd.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who ran for the Democratic nomination, has been called out for not filing charges against Chauvin in the past.

Chauvin has a long record of excessive force and Sen. Klobuchar seemingly ignored it. According to The Guardian, Chauvin was involved in a police shooting of an unarmed man in 2006. Sen. Klobuchar was the Hennepin county attorney at the time and did not bring charges against Chauvin for his involvement in the 2006 shooting. Instead, the case went to a grand jury in 2008 where it was determined that no charges would be brought against the officers involved.

As of now, there are no plans from the police department to bring charges against the four former officers.

Mike Freeman, Hennepin County’s current attorney, told the press that there was evidence that supported the police officers. Freeman said that while the video is graphic, there is evidence supporting that the police did not commit a crime in the arrest.

The mayor of Minneapolis is pushing to Hennepin county attorney Mike Freeman to file charges.

“There are precedents and protocols sitting in the reserves of institutions just like this one that will give you about a thousand reasons not to do something,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey told the press. “Not to speak out. Not to act so quickly. And I’ve wrestled with, more than anything else over the last 36 hours, one fundamental question: ‘Why is the man who killed George Floyd, not in jail?’

Other Hennepin County officials have expressed a similar concern. The pressure is mounting on the Minneapolis Police Department to arrest the officers involved in Floyd’s death in the hope of seeking justice.

READ: Horrific Footage Shows Police Officers Shooting Teen In The Back Of The Head And His Partner’s Response Is Shocking

Netflix’s ‘Gentefied’ Renewed For Season 2, Fans Overjoyed

Entertainment

Netflix’s ‘Gentefied’ Renewed For Season 2, Fans Overjoyed

gentefied / Instagram

Any and all news is welcomed right now and Netflix came through this week. “Gentefied” is coming back for a second season and this is absolutely not a drill. Soon we will be back in Boyle Heights with Ana, Chris, Erik, and the rest of the cast we have come to love so much.

Netflix has confirmed “Gentefied” for a second season.

The show is a fan favorite for Netflix with praise and love pouring in for the groundbreaking show. “Gentefied” is set in Boyle Heights and it is all about the fight against gentrification. The show premiered this year to big fanfare and excitement from Latino Netflix users. The show, created by Marvin Lemus and Linda Yvette Chávez, was picked up for an eight-episode run of the 30-minute show.

The show is one of the most relevant portrayals of the Latino experience in the 21st century.

The show highlights the plight of gentrification on communities across the U.S. Boyle Heights in Los Angeles has been the center of growing tension as the neighborhood slowly gentrifies. Rising rents have forced some residents and businesses to close and leave because of the changing demographic in the neighborhood.

Hearts are full as everyone celebrates the news of a whole new season.

The show originally premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival as a digital series. Lemus and Chávez debuted the show and it was an instant hit with festival-goers. After three years of waiting, the show was released by Netflix and became a national hit. The show has shone a light on the cost of gentrification for more Americans than knew about it before the show aired.

Low key, it has made for perfect binge-watching during this quarantine.

There isn’t a whole lot any of us can do at the moment. Most of us are at home because of self-isolation and social distancing guidelines designed to save lives during the pandemic. Might as well us some of your time to watch and support and very important moment in our community. This kind of representation is something that Latinos have been asking for.

While excited, some fans want more, like a cross-over with Starz’s “Vida.”

Now, just to be clear, we are not concerned with what it takes to make this happen. Netflix and Starz can come up with the actual plan. We are just going to be here waiting to be heard so we can all have the kind of cross-over the world deserves. Just imagine a chance for those two shows to collide in Latino excellence.

Now we wait for an air date.

We are patient. We will be here when you are ready. All you have to do is let us know when to tune in and you know we are coming through.

READ: I Watched ‘Gentefied’ On Netflix And These Are My Brutally Honest Thoughts