If America’s fields could speak, what stories would they tell about sexual abuse migrant women face?
That’s the question that poet Monica Mendoza asks in the Off/Page Project’s inaugural video, “Whispers from the Field.”
Speaking from the perspective of the field, Mendoza talks about the high price migrant women pay to put food on their families’ tables. The poem was inspired by the Rape in the Fields investigation — by CIR, the Investigative Reporting Program at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, FRONTLINE and Univision — that found that hundreds of female agricultural workers have complained to the federal government about being raped, assaulted and harassed on the job, while law enforcement has done almost nothing to prosecute potential crimes. Learn more about the investigation on our website.
The Off/Page Project is a collaboration between Youth Speaks and The Center for Investigative Reporting.
“Border Patrol Body Slam” looks at the sport of lucha libre wrestling, profiling a fighter who has galvanized an enthusiastic following by fighting opponents who take on the role of a very particular villain – U.S. border agents.
This excerpt from Kevin Gordon’s film-in-progress portrays a battle between good and evil in which the Mexican migrant finally gets to be the good guy. The wrestler portraying the hero, who goes by the nomme de wrestling “Blue Demon Jr.,” says that for some Mexicans living in the U.S., these bouts are “the cheapest therapy that exists.”
“If you are not a ‘legal’ person, you can’t stand up for yourself. You do not have a way for your voice to be heard,” he explains. “And here, they can scream and scream and get everything out.”
The Sierra Blanca checkpoint on I-10 in Texas was supposed to catch traffickers and immigrants entering illegally. Now it mostly catches Americans — including Snoop Lion, Fiona Apple and Willie Nelson — for minor drug possession.
Watch our new piece produced for The Young Turks to learn what happened to a group of twenty-somethings from Austin caught with pot on their way back from a trip to Las Vegas.
For the women who handle the food we eat every day, sexual assault often comes with the job. Here are three of their stories.
Also be sure to check out FRONTLINE PBS tonight for the premier of our latest documentary, Rape in the Fields.
Franklin Alexander Ordonez Ordonez (left) is from the capital city of Honduras, considered one of the most violent places on earth. Speaking from a graveyard in Nogales where he sought a shady reprieve close to the Arizona border, Ordonez said he was on his way north and would be trying for a fourth time to enter the country in search of work. He said no number of Border Patrol arrests would be enough to discourage him. “I’ll try until I make it,” Ordonez said in Spanish. “It doesn’t matter how many times it takes.” He does not have family in the United States. Three brothers and sisters are back home in Honduras.
Credit: Will Seberger/For the Center for Investigative Reporting