by David Bacon
The Progressive / On The Line – 7/21/17
The face of work and poverty in Yakima ranges from a closed mill of the city’s past to the agricultural fields of its present.
At the edge of town is the rusting structure of the old Boise Cascade plywood plant, where many of this small city’s people worked for over a hundred years. Little houses in the surrounding neighborhood were originally built for mill workers. Now many are the homes of laborers in the valley’s fields and packing sheds. Yakima always was and still is a farm worker town.
The closure of the plant is one reason why those homes have seen better days. Rick, who lives in a tent camp set up by homeless people on the street downtown, says he’d like things to go back to the way they used to be. “There was work for everyone,” he remembers.
Albeit far from its intentions, the Trump administration has put the idea of sanctuaries on steroids — spaces free from the threat of raids and deportations. As immigrant workers, unions and their allies look for creative ways to counter anti-immigrant onslaughts, they’re adopting the sanctuary framework to deal with the dangers faced on the job.
What a beautiful day! Que Viva el Primero de Mayo!
We are here today in solidarity with people all over this country who have stopped work, who are marching in the streets like we are. And why are we marching? Because last week ICE picked up hundreds of people, mothers, children, even a DACA student, and deported them.
To that we say Not One More!
We are here in solidarity with the people in detention – 360,000 every year, with special prisons for mothers and children. The courageous people in the Tacoma center just organized a hunger strike two weeks ago to protest, and we march to support what they did.