Immigrant Rights

Cristina Lopez, East Bay Recycler

Recycling workers, in their own words

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"I first applied for a job at the Select agency in 2000. A lot of people had told me that this job was really bad. At first they put me on the cardboard line. That didn't seem so bad because it's not so dirty. It's just that the cardboard stacks up so fast. But then they put me on the trash line, which was a lot dirtier. But the thing is, I needed the job. So I worked hard, and the years passed, and I was still there.Read more »

Luis Valladares, East Bay recycler

Recycling workers, in their own words

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"My father is a farmer in Chiapas, and grows corn, mangoes, and bananas. Our land wasn't enough to support our family, though. The little we were able to grow was just to eat.

"When I was 16 I left home and school, and went to Mexico City. Parents never want their children to leave. But we ... can't stay. The majority of young people in my town have left, like me, looking for a way to help their families survive.Read more »

Invisible no more

Threatened with deportation and paid illegally low wages, East Bay recycling workers did the unthinkable: They fought back.
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We all want to be responsible for our environment. We sort our trash. We put the right things into the right containers, and feel good when we see them at the curb on trash pickup day.

Then the trash disappears. End of story.

But really, it's not the end. Not only does the trash go somewhere, but people still have to sort through what we've thrown away. In a society full of people doing work that's unacknowledged, and often out of sight, those who deal with our recycled trash are some of the most invisible of all.Read more »

May Day rally for immigration reform in SF

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Hundreds gathered for a rally outside San Francisco City Hall on May 1, capping off a march that drew activists into the streets to commemorate International Workers Day. The events were organized by a broad coalition of immigrant rights advocates to call for improvements to the recently unveiled proposal for federal immigration reform, which will go before the Senate Judiciary Committee next week. [More photos after the jump] Read more »