Things That Matter

This Band’s Cumbia Version Of ‘This Land Is Your Land’ Is Celebrating The Immigrant Community

The National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) have a music video almost two year in the making as an ode to immigrant workers. They shot their music video with a group of protesters highlighting the work NDLON has been doing.

In the video, musical group Los Jornaleros del Norte perform a cumbia rendition of Woody Guthrie’s American folk song “This Land Is Your Land.”

This Land Is Your Land remix by Los Jornaleros del Norte

WATCH & SHARE “This Land Is Your Land” by Los Jornaleros Del Norte!Los Jornaleros del Norte, made up of immigrant workers committed to justice, just launched a POWERFUL cumbia remix of Woodrow Wilson "Woody" Guthrie's famous american folk song “This Land Is Your Land.” While the Trump administration ratchets up their anti-immigrant policies and rhetoric, Los Jornaleros del Norte reassert their right to remain in a land where Indigenous Peoples have lived for thousands of years before the U.S. ever existed. This video was filmed in collaboration with nearly 50 immigrant worker organizations who attended NDLON's National Assembly in Santa Clara, CA, in August of 2017.Music by: Jornaleros del Norte Directed by: Alex RiveraProduced by: NDLONCC: Central American Resource Center (CARECEN-LA), Fe y Justicia Worker Center, Pomona Economic Opportunity Center, Pasadena Community Job Center, TPS Alliance / Alianza TPS, Arriba Las Vegas Worker Center, Adelante Alabama Worker Center, CASA Latina, IDEPSCA, WeCount, New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE), Voces de la Frontera, Jolt Texas, Graton Day Labor Center (Centro Laboral de Graton), Latino Rebels

Posted by National Day Laborer Organizing Network on Tuesday, May 29, 2018

After a somber intro, the video comes to life with a rally taking place around the singer.

CREDIT: Facebook/National Day Laborer Organizing Network

The lead singer shouts and turns into a wall of posters and dancing activists gathered in Santa Clara, Calif., during an assembly for the NDLON in August of last year.

The song includes some lines about the indigenous peoples that first inhabited North America, before man-made borders were enacted.

CREDIT: Facebook/National Day Laborer Organizing Network

Some of the freestyled lyrics, which are sung both in Spanish and English (and featured in text in the video), are “Home of the brave. / The indigenous were first. / They didn’t divide our land. / Thousands of years without the border. “

The singer also calls out those that try to colonize this land, saying “El pueblo está presente. / Our courage makes them cowards.”  

The song is a rallying cry to the immigrant community.

This isn’t the first time Los Jornaleros del Norte has written songs to support the immigrant cause.

Y llegaron los jornaleros a darle guerra al Sheriff Youngblood!

A post shared by Los Jornaleros Del Norte (@losjornalerosdelnorte) on

For the past 15 years, the group has dedicated themself to singing for the immigrant worker. According to the band’s biography on its official page, the band began in 1995 after an (Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raid in the City of Industry in California. One of the singers of the band was inspired to write a corrido (ballad) about the event, and now the band’s music is meant to “inform, educate, organize, and mobilize day workers, sensitize the general community about day labor related issues, and denounce the abuses committed against them.”

In 2016, the group performed during a march for the #Fightfor15.

Jornaleros Del Norte jamming it live! #fightfor15 #luchaporlos15 #wbw

A post shared by Los Jornaleros Del Norte (@losjornalerosdelnorte) on

The “This Land is Your Land” video was made in partnership with nearly 50 different immigrant worker organizations including Central American Resource Center (CARECEN-LA), Adelante Alabama Worker Center, CASA Latina and New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE).


READ: Bomba Esteréo Remixed Arcade Fire’s “Everything Now” Into an Awesome Latin Dance Track

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At 78-Years-Old, This Oaxacan Woman Learned To Read And Write And Even Authored An Award-Winning New Book

Things That Matter

At 78-Years-Old, This Oaxacan Woman Learned To Read And Write And Even Authored An Award-Winning New Book

Jorge Fernandez / Getty Images

It’s never too late to follow your dreams. It may sound cliche but one Indigenous woman from the Mexican state of Oaxaca is showing just how true that sentiment really is.

Although growing up knowing how to speak her native language of Náhuatl, she was never able to read or write it – let alone Spanish. Now after years of studying and being too embarrassed to attend classes, this 78-year-old woman can say that she achieved her dream and is now an award-winning author.

Despite being illiterate for years, Justina Rojas has finally finished primary school.

Justina Rojas Flores, a resident of the Oaxacan community of San Miguel Espejo, learned to read and write at 76. She remembers that at first she was embarrassed to attend her classes, but with the support of her teachers sh was motivated to learn the alphabet and words and communication.

In fact, she became so motivated that she’s recently authored a handmade book that earned her a national award. She recently told El Sol de Puebla, that “I was already cracking under pressure because I was cheating a lot, but the teachers told me ‘yes you can, Justina’, so I continued taking classes and it was thanks to them that I learned. After two years, I wrote La Mazorca, which is dedicated to the community of San Miguel Espejo.”

In her Indigenous language of Náhuatl, Rojas shared the history of La Mazorca, which emphasizes the value of appreciating all things – especially that which the land gives us.

“I beg you, if you see me lying on the ground, pick me up, don’t step on me. Just as you take care of me, I will take care of you,” is part of the story in the book that was awarded in 2019 by the State Institute for Adult Education (IEEA), an achievement with which Rojas feels accomplished, and with which motivates other people to enter the competition.

Rojas is proving that it’s never too late to learn something new.

Now, at 78-years-old, Rojas is able to celebrate her achievements. Though she admits that many in her community continue to doubt her real motivation. It’s common to hear people ask ‘Why do I learn if I’m old?’, ‘What use is it going to do?’, and ‘I’m on my way out so it doesn’t matter.’

But many of the people who ask these questions are the same people who don’t have the same opportunities, since they can’t read or write. According to figures from the National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policy (Coneval) in Rojas’ community, there are around 2,267 inhabitants, and the majority are living in poverty, a factor that significantly influences educational access. Many, from a very young age, leave school to work to support their families and take jobs working in the fields or construction.

Finally, Rojas wants everyone to know that they should not limit themselves and to embrace knowledge regardless of age. “If you don’t know how to read and write, or if you know someone like that, I invite you to go where they teach, so that those who know more can share their knowledge with us.”

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Mexican Officials Point To Provision In USMCA That Safeguards Migrants’ Health

Things That Matter

Mexican Officials Point To Provision In USMCA That Safeguards Migrants’ Health

Healthcare is a universal right. However, it’s one that depends on your immigration status in the United States, unfortunately. This has become more evident with the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine as many officials across the country are saying that they will not offer the vaccine to undocumented residents.

It’s long been known that the country’s Brown and Black residents have long suffered the consequences of inequality in the nation’s healthcare system. But now, as those very communities are hit the hardest by the pandemic, they’re being denied the one tool we have to help relieve the community’s suffering.

Update January 14, 2021

Mexican officials are ready to invoke parts of the North American trade agreement to ensure vaccines for undocumented migrants.

Earlier this month, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts announced that undocumented people will not be included in the vaccination plan. He has since attempted to at least partially walk back those comments. Mexico immediately raised the alarm and offered to help undocumented migrants in the U.S. receive the vaccine.

According to Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) has provisions about the health of migrant workers. In the agreement, which President Trump touts as his accomplishment, the countries have agreed to safeguard the lives of migrant workers.

Minister Ebrand is prepared to invoke the provision designed to protect vulnerable migrant workers. As stated in a press conference, the Mexican government is prepared to consider any effort not to vaccinate undocumented migrants in the U.S. a violation of the trade agreement.

Mexico’s AMLO offers to vaccinate migrants who are unlawfully living in the U.S.

Mexico’s president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), recently announced that he was ready to provide the COVID-19 vaccine to undocumented residents living in the United States.

“It’s a universal right. We would do it,” President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said before his regular daily press conference after the press asked him if Mexico would step up to help vaccinate undocumented migrants living in the U.S. – many of whom are Mexican nationals.

Although, like many of AMLO’s promises, he offered little in the way of details and many are rightfully skeptical of the promise given his government’s limited ability to deliver the vaccine to people within his own country. It also wasn’t clear which migrants in the U.S. would qualify under AMLO’s vaccine rollout.

AMLO announced his intentions after officials in Nebraska said undocumented residents wouldn’t be eligible.

AMLO raised the possible vaccination program after the governor of Nebraska said that undocumented residents of his state likely wouldn’t get vaccinated due to their immigration status.

“You’re supposed to be a legal resident of the country to be able to be working in those plants, so I do not expect that illegal immigrants will be part of that vaccine with that program,” Governor Ricketts said during a coronavirus briefing.

Gov. Pete Ricketts is a member of Trump’s Republican Party but his comments about workers in Nebraska’s meat-packing plants provoked criticism from public health and migrant advocates.

Roberto Velasco, a senior Mexican diplomat for North America, responded to Ricketts on Twitter. “To deprive undocumented essential workers of #covid19 vaccination goes against basic human rights,” he wrote on Twitter, including Ricketts’ Twitter handle and citing text from the U.N.’s declaration of human rights.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a leader of pro-migrant progressives in the Democratic party of President-elect Joe Biden, also spoken out firmly against Ricketts’ statement.

“Imagine being so racist that you go out of your way to ensure that the people who prepare *your* food are unvaccinated,” she wrote on Twitter.

Undocumented residents fill many of the nation’s riskiest “essential” jobs.

Study after study have shown that most of the nation’s “essential workers” are people of color – with a large number being undocumented migrants. The same applies to the country’s meat-packing jobs.

According to the Washington-based Migration Policy Institute, it estimates 11% of Nebraska’s meat-packing workers – and 10% of the workers nationwide – lack legal immigration status.

Meanwhile, since the pandemic began, there have been sporadic yet severe outbreaks of COVID-19 among meat-packing plants in the U.S., helping spread the virus around rural America where the plants are concentrated.

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