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FWAF Response to the President’s Executive Order Regarding Immigration

November 21, 2014

From the Farmworker Association of Florida and our farmworker membership in Florida, we want to thank President Obama for taking the bold move, against stiff opposition, to provide for measures under his executive authority to protect close to 5 million undocumented immigrants in the United States against the threats of detention and deportation. While we fully recognize that this is but a stop-gap measure to provide temporary relief to families that have been living in the shadows and in fear for years, the urgency of the immigration crisis demanded the courage to take immediate steps that have a major impact on a large segment of the population in our country.

In light of last night’s Presidential announcement, we take the following position:

  • The immigration crisis and the broken immigration system in the U. S. will not be solved by an Executive Order. The country needs more than a temporary fix to a complicated and massive domestic problem.
  • Congress must commit to finding a long-term, fair and just solution to address the status of the over 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States today.
  • Holding 11million people hostage to unresolved disagreements over securing the border continues to leave millions of hardworking families that are part of the fabric of our society and economy in a limbo that our country cannot afford.
  • We call on the incoming Congress to put aside partisan politics and pass a Comprehensive Immigration Reform that treats all people with respect and dignity and that pulls our country together and that stops the division and attack mentality.

We resolve to:

  • Work with our community members that qualify for relief under this Executive Order to help them engage in the qualification process.
  • Commit to fight for the rights of those who are excluded from the Executive Order to defend their right to continue to work, contribute to our society and to stay with their families in the U.S.
  • Challenge our members, our supporters and our community to continue working tirelessly until we have achieved a just, compassionate, and fair Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

We cannot wait any longer! Our families deserve better! Our country needs to live up to its values as a melting pot that welcomes all to her shores.

FL: Pesticidas mortales

News taken from Univision Orlando

Florida, (Entravision).- Los químicos utilizados en los cultivos son una de las amenazas más peligrosas que enfrentan los trabajadores del campo, día a día. Ampliamos en nuestro reportaje especial “Pesticidas mortales”.

Elvire greets the Pope

Elvire's daughter wrote in her facebook "So proud of what my mom is doing. She truly cares about the La Via Campesina and the FWAF organization, she totally deserved to meet the pope and her trip to Italy."

FWAF community leader in Fellsmere goes to the Vatican

On Saturday, 10/25/14, Haitian farmworker and FWAF community leader in Fellsmere, Elvire Francois, departed for an exciting trip to Rome, Italy. 

La Via Campesina en movimiento... ¡ Por la soberanía alimentaria !

October 16th, World Day of Action For Food Sovereignty and against transnational corporations

Taken from La Vía Campesina

Food Sovereignty is the right of the world’s peoples to produce and to consume healthy food. Food cannot be reduced to a commodity in the hands of the transnational corporations.

The international peasant and family farmer movement, La Via Campesina, is calling upon its member organisations across the world, and on grassroots organisations, allied social groups, and concerned consumers to be part of the World Day of Action for Peoples’ Food Sovereignty  and against  transnational corporations, this coming October 16th, 2014.

Every year, La Via Campesina organises this Day of solidarity, resistance, and mobilisation in order to make citizens aware of the current threats to Peoples’ Food Sovereignty.

International Symposium on Agroecology at the FAO in Rome

"Today a Window was opened in what for 50 years has been the Cathedral of the Green Revolution"

Press Release- La Via Campesina

The International Symposium on Agroecology for Food and Nutritional Security was held on the 18th and 19th of September of 2014, at the headquarters of the Food & Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) in Rome. This marked the first time that the FAO has ever officially and directly addressed the topic of agroecology.

In his closing remarks at the Symposium, José Graziano da Silva, Director General of the FAO, said that: "Today a Window was opened in what for 50 years has been the Cathedral of the Green Revolution." The delegation of La Via Campesina, that participated in the Symposium, welcomes this opening, but recommends caution, given the attempts to coopt agroecology that were observed at the event.

According to La Via Campesina, the science, practices and movement of agroecology are the product of centuries of accumulated peasant and indigenous knowledge, knowledge of how food was produced for humanity since long before farm chemicals were invented. This knowledge has been organized through a 'dialog of knowledges' (dialogo de saberes) with the western sciences of ecology, agronomy, rural sociology, etc.  Support for agroecology, among rural social movements, consumers, environmentalists and others, has grown a lot in recent decades, in part because of it's sharp critique of, and it's alternatives to, the badly-named 'Green Revolution' of industrial agriculture.  For La Via, peasant agroecology is a fundamental building block in the construction of food sovereignty. Read more

NO TO CLIMATE SMART AGRICULTURE!

YES TO LAND REFORM AND AGROECOLOGY

FOR PEOPLE’S FOOD SOVEREIGNTY!

International peasant movement, La Via Campesina, of which the Farmworker Association of Florida is a member, is taking part in the People's Climate Summit in New York City to bring attention to the impacts of climate change on peasants, small farmers, women farmers, indigenous farmers, farmworkers, and landless peoples.  LVC has issued a position statement urging support for traditional, sustainable, agroecological farming practices as the path to real food sovereignty.   "We continue to propose and put into practice wherever we can agroecological production and the construction of people’s food sovereignty."

GLOBALIZE THE STRUGGLE, GLOBALIZE HOPE!

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Activists: Tighten pesticide limits: Front & Center

Taken from Orlando Sentinel

American farmers apply more than 1 billion pounds of pesticides a year to their fields to kill weeds and damaging insects. But collateral damage includes farmworkers; more than 10,000 a year suffer acute pesticide poisoning. Now the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed stricter limits on pesticide use. The issue is especially important in Florida, with its $100 billion agricultural industry and more than 150,000 farmworkers. In a recent email interview, Eve Gartner of Earthjustice, an environmental advocacy group, and Jeannie Economos, a pesticide expert for the Farmworker Association of Florida, called for more stringent rules than the EPA has proposed. Excerpts of that interview follow. A longer version is online at OrlandoSentinel.com/Opinion.

Q: Why are more stringent pesticide rules needed?

A: The farmworkers who harvest the food that the rest of us consume are regularly exposed to toxic chemicals designed to kill pests. Many of these men and women suffer illnesses as a result — rashes, blisters, nausea, headaches, respiratory issues, stinging eyes — and elevated risks of cancer, neurological impairment and other long-term health problems.

According to the federal government, there are 10,000 to 20,000 acute pesticide poisonings among agricultural workers every year. Yet, farmworkers receive far less protection from pesticides than workers in other industries who are exposed to similarly toxic chemicals. Farm workers deserve the same health and safety protections as other workers in the U.S.

More Than 200,000 People Call for Stronger Workplace Protections for Farmworkers

EPA proposal is a step in the right direction as farmworkers demand stronger rules now.

 

Farmworkers, public health advocates, labor organizations, and public officials, were among the more than 200,000 who submitted comments to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) calling on the agency to strengthen its Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS). The WPS is the only federal standard designed to protect the nation’s more than 2 million farmworkers from one of their greatest occupational hazards: pesticide exposure.

“Farmworkers face dangerous exposure to poisons over the course of their working life,” said Eve Gartner, attorney for Earthjustice, a public interest law firm. “While most Americans benefit from broad workplace protections, farmworkers are not protected by the same health and safety standards.”

Book review: 'Fed Up: The High Cost of Cheap Food' by Dale Finley Slongwhite

By Michael Hoffmann • JACKSONVILLE (Florida) TIMES-UNION • July 31, 2014
Dale Finley Slongwhite has faithfully recorded the lamentations of third- and fourth-generation African-American agricultural workers who labored in the area around Lake Apopka, including the drained area of the lake known as “the muck.” These lamentations are poignant, thoughtful, triumphant and, yes, bitter. The speakers helped to feed America and have pride in this accomplishment — surviving, if not prospering, despite economic and political hardships from Jim Crow segregation to today’s laissez-faire politics and crony capitalism.
The import of the words of the speakers in “Fed Up: The High Costs of Cheap Food” is magnified by Gaye Kozanli’s remarkable black-and-white photographs of the speakers, primarily black women, who have seen family members, friends and neighbors dead too soon from the hot, hard work in the fields and groves where they were subjected to the widespread use of pesticides and herbicides as well as the accumulated poisons of the exposed lake bottom. ...

Detentions threaten community safety

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Over Two Dozen Civil Rights and Legal Groups Demand Florida Counties Halt Enforcement of Unconstitutional Immigration Detainers

“ICE detainers” have illegally imprisoned countless individuals, opening enforcing agencies to liability; Letters sent to 62 sheriffs urge Florida counties to join the hundreds of places – including Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties – that have stopped enforcing the unconstitutional holds.

MIAMI, FL – A coalition of civil rights, immigrants’ rights, religious and legal groups has sent letters to officials in 62 Florida counties calling for an end to local law enforcement agencies detaining people for alleged civil immigration violations at the request of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The letters and attached legal memoranda explain that requests for “ICE detainers” or “ICE holds” are not legally binding and that the detentions threaten community safety and raise serious constitutional problems that could open enforcing agencies up to significant legal liability.
CONTACT:  ACLU of Florida Media Office, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (786) 363-2737

A victory on our path to an international declaration on the rights of peasants

From La Via Campesina
Press Release, July 7, 2014

(Geneva, June 27th, 2014) On June 27th, the United Nations Human Rights Council Assembly passed a resolution authorising the continuation of the process of drafting an international declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas. Bolivia is in charge of starting up informal consultations between States and civil society as well as organising the second session of of the Intergovernmental Open-Ended Working Group, which is scheduled to take place in November 2014.

The declaration project originated with the Via Campesina,

La Via Campesina welcomes the UN Human Rights Council move to challenge corporate impunity

La Via Campesina Press Release, June 30, 2014
FWAF is member of La Vía Campesina

TNC%20photo%20Geneva%202014.JPG(Switzerland, Geneva, June 27, 2014) La Via Campesina welcomes the resolution approved at the UN Human Rights Council to draw up a binding treaty to punish the crimes of transnational companies (TNC's). “This is a victory for peasants, who in most cases are unable to access legal systems to take actions against the impunity of TNCs. Also, looking at the current agricultural activities that have been captured by multinational companies, the instrument will be a great tool for the victims to file cases against land-grabbing by TNCs. We thank the initiating countries and the countries that voted in favour.” said Themba Chauke from the South African Landless Peoples Movement, a member of La Via Campesina.

Protecting Farmworker Children from Pesticide Exposure

By Joan Flocks, JD, MA, taken from PSR

In the United States, potentially carcinogenic pesticide exposures are subject to a net of protective regulations. But the population most in need of protection from hazardous exposures -  farmworker children – is falling through holes in that regulatory net.

According to the 2008-2009 Annual Report for the President’s Caner Panel, exposure to the pesticides approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for agricultural and non-agricultural use have been linked to Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma; multiple myeloma; soft tissue sarcoma; and cancers of the brain/central nervous system, breast, colon, lung, ovary, pancreas, kidney, testicle, and stomach.[1] In agricultural settings, those most at risk of direct dermal, oral, or inhalation exposure to pesticides are farmers, pesticide applicators, and farmworkers.

South Apopka Community Food Assessment

The Farmworker Association of Florida and the East Central Florida Regional Planning Council are pleased to release the South Apopka Community Food Assessment.  The report provides a broad overview of the local food system in South Apopka - the assets, the challenges, and the opportunities, as well as the barriers faced by low-income families in our area when it comes to accessing quality fresh produce.  The assessment spanned three years (2011-13), and engaged low-income community members, farmworkers, farmers, community organizations, food retailers and food-based programs, healthcare representatives, faith-based groups, the local credit union and community center, the local bus system, and local elected officials.  During that time, much data was gathered and many ideas were generated about how to increase families' fresh food consumption and healthy lifestyle choices, thereby positively impacting their health.    We look forward to collaborating with local partners to improve South Apopka's local food system!

Download Report

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