La Gente Newsmagazine's Conversation & Conflict - Winter 2022: Volume 50, Issue 2

La Gente proudly presents our "Conversation & Conflict" issue. We hope you enjoy!

La Gente proudly presents our "Conversation & Conflict" issue. We hope you enjoy!


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volume 50

issue II

Conversation & Conflict

la gente newsmagazine

La Gente



3 Editor’s Note

4 “Es que él no le pego”

Haydee Sánchez Resendiz

6 Progressive Politics in Colombia:

First Queer Woman Elected as Mayor

Juan Angel Marquez-Cruz

8 Generation Genocide

Karim Isaac Hyderali

11 COVID-19 & the Dangers of Misinformation

Within Latinx Communities

Alejandra Velasco

13 Conversations About Leaving Home

Jonathan Valenzuela Mejia

15 Playlist

Alvaro Hernandez-Say, Sara De La O, Jeanna Kim, Manuel Madrigal

16 Calladita te ves más bonita:

Tackling Sexism and Machismo

Andrea Alvarez

18 Farmworkers and Food: The Injustices

Migrant Workers Face While Sustaining a Nation

Sarah Mejia

20 Staff

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It is often that the conversations we least want to have—the kind that can make us

uncomfortable or perhaps challenge our perception of the world and ourselves—are the

ones we need to engage in the most. Although I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge

how difficult it is to hold space for these exchanges, let alone to navigate them, it is important

to note how consequential they are for both our personal well-being and that of our


We are at a critical juncture in time where political polarization, high levels of inequality and

global disaccord all threaten our futures. When the world seldom agrees and even truth

and facts can be disputed, if not distorted or ignored entirely, how do we hold each other

accountable? Do we try to bridge the divide, or do we exploit those fractures in search of a

resolution that does not compromise our ideals? The answers to these questions are hardly

black and white nor are they simple enough to manage in a few sentences, but I believe they

all begin with conviction and a willingness to confront our own reality.

This issue tackles a variety of conflicts, from the interpersonal to the international, in the hope

that our readers will feel empowered to face theirs head on. There is an incalculable value in

being able to address the matters that are important to us and our communities even when

they place us at odds with what we thought we knew or with those we admire. We hope that

this issue will serve as a reminder to speak up, participate, advocate, and engage in spite of the

fear of defying certain norms or conventional beliefs.

As always, I am in awe of the creativity and passion of our staff. Thank you for dedicating your

time, talents and brilliance into our magazine. I am eternally grateful for your contributions and

the opportunity to work with you all.

Ultimately, before any of these

conversations can take place, we

must be willing to come to the

table. If ever one fails to offer you

a seat, do not shy away from the

opportunity to create an inclusive

space of your own. On behalf of La

Gente, please consider this issue a

personal invitation to ours.

Con esperanza,

Sofia Rizkkhalil

Editor in Chief


Visual by Melissa Morales

“Es que él no le pego”

by Haydee Sánchez Resendiz

The following poem is written in the style of a

valona that originates from Guanajuato, Mexico’s

arribeño music and sound. Huapango arribeño

is recognized for its musical elements and poetic

improvisation used to celebrate, dance, and even

present a challenge. Two separate groups—each

composed of a guitarist, violinist, and a Mexican

vihuela player—face each other to interpret sones

and jarabes. The following valona is written from

the perspective of a daughter who expresses

her feelings after learning about the backlash

her family has received upon reporting a case of

domestic violence.

“Es que él no le pegó”

Con mucho sentimiento anunció

¿Por qué lo defendió?

Si fui yo quien lo miro

Fue más la humillación

Como de mi madre se burló

A mi solo me vio, y me sonrió

Cuando le intente llamar la atención

Ahí ya cambio mi expresión

Pues él se rió, y me ignoro

Entendí que a nosotros no nos valoró

Así que le voy a exigir

Que no vuelva a repetir

“Es que él no le pego”

“Es que ella no es una víctima”

Encontraron el coraje de decir

Pero no lo suficiente para venir

Esta bien, pero será la última

Mi madre no ocupa de su lastima

Lo que sí me sorprendió

Fue su falta de comprensión

No debieron alarmarse

Pues sin antes informarse

Con mucho sentimiento anunció

Usted se pregunta porque no se quedó

Pero por nosotros, mi madre mucho aguantó

Él lo vio, se aprovechó y a eso se aferró

Escondía como era su relación

Para no llamar tanto la atención

Por eso entiendo que así no lo conoció

Pues a muchos convenció

Pero usted, sin tener información

Ni escuchar nuestra versión

¿Por qué lo defendió?

“Pero es tú familia”

Me repetían como si no sabía

Me tomaban por ser hija muy fría

Pero nadie veía como discutía

Fuese de noche o fuese de día

En ocasiones a mi también me agredía

Y eso nadie lo sabía

Mi respeto lo perdió

Cuando a mi madre agredió

Si fui yo quien lo miró

In incidents of domestic violence, it is crucial to

remember that different individuals are impacted

and involved. The daughter’s perspective informs

the poem; it expresses her point of view to

emphasize that the reality of domestic violence,

mental and emotional abuse is not always clear for

those that aren’t on the receiving end. Although

the effects are not always visible, the experiences

of victims should in no way be diminished or

negated. Accordingly, when someone takes that

initial step to escape a dangerous situation, they

should not face criticism.

Despite this, in Latinx communities it is rather

common for reporting someone to be seen as

an act of betrayal, especially in a culture where

loyalty and family are often placed above all else.

However, reprimanding victims for reporting their

abusers protects the aggressor and reinforces

toxic masculinity. Moreover, it helps perpetuate

domestic violence and victim-blaming. Physical

and psychological abuse should never be

condoned, and machismo should be considered a

threat and not a continued cultural difference.


Claudia López, left, celebrates her mayoral victory in Bogotá. EPA. Castañeda, M. (2019).

Progressive Politics in Colombia: First Queer

Woman Elected as Mayor

by Juan Angel Marquez-Cruz

During the 2019 Colombian election, Claudia

López Hernández, became the first woman and

first openly queer candidate to be elected mayor

of Bogotá, Colombia, the second most critical

elected position in the country.

As expected, Hernández’s rise to power was

strongly contested by right-wing, evangelical,

and conservative movements which sought to

barricade any future for transformative politics.

These movements denounced the populist vote

naming Claudia Hernández mayor, calling her

“immoral” for proudly displaying her relationship

with her wife, Angelica Lozano Correa.


Although Colombia—along with the many Latin

American countries—is perceived to centralize

conservative and Catholic-dominated policy,

the nation employs a more progressive agenda

in their social-political legislation. In 2015, for

instance, trans folx over the age of 18 were

granted the right to legally correct their gender

identity on all identification-based documents.

The following year, the battle for same-sex

marriage was rendered a success, allowing

equal protection for same-sex couples and

implementing more progressive policies that

chastise gender-based discrimination in the


Correspondingly, to maintain the progressive

momentum, Hernández proposed instituting

essential changes to public forums, health

services, and educational sectors in her 60-page

policy memo. Through this vision, she hopes to

restore sympathy and reduce the stigmatization

of and violence against marginalized queer

individuals. Likewise, Hernández aspires to enact

regional safe spaces where LGBTQ+ folx are able

to feel protected, regardless of their sexual or

gender identification.

Hernández’s victory fulfilled the seemingly

intangible dreams of those whose lives are

constantly threatened by homophobic,

transphobic, and misogynistic hate crimes.

This intersectional representation of women,

queerness, the working class, and the

disenfranchised reflect powerful and crucial

changes that will unequivocally transform

the trajectory of Latin American politics. We

are witnessing a momentous epoch in the

course of Latin American history—where more

marginalized identities are taking on leadership


gathering more than 300 LGBTQ+ elected

officials from Latin America and the Caribbean

during its Fourth Conference in Bogotá. The

importance of visibility in Latin American

politics, and around the globe in this case,

creates social consciousness of LGBTQ+ matters

that were otherwise ignored.

Ultimately, amplifying the voices of marginalized

communities and granting them spaces at the

table where heteropatriarchy unfortunately

persists is imperative. Doing so fosters a more

engaged and well-represented populace—one

that truly reflects the transformative changes

occurring across regions of Latin America.

In these precarious times, marginalized

communities should continue to consolidate

their power and demand visibility and

involvement in politics at every level of


Case in point, in 2019, the Victory Institute—

an organization committed to increasing the

amount of LGBTQ+ folx in public office—reports


Generation Genocide

by Karim Isaac Hyderali

Visual by Haven Jovel Morales

Tonight we party with death’s disciples

Arm up with blades, bombs and rifles

Or just sit back and clutch your Bible

Nowhere to run from Generation Genocide

Mother Nature became the Grim Reaper’s Bride

As his body hits the dirt

He sees his blood become absorbed by the Earth

Bombs falling from the sky

Seven years old is too young to see people die

The blast robbed him of his sight

Wanted to show off his brand new shoes

He heard screams as his loved were ones split in two

Seventy-three years of his people living through this hell

Fighting day after day, praying that they prevail

Accounts of forced sterilization

Beaten until they pledged loyalty to their nation

Police boots to the abdomen and struck with electric probes

Treated this way until their hearts and mind broke

Detained and forced to do everything she normally wouldn’t

Just because she was a proud Uyghur woman

Subjugated to mass torture and rape

Xi Jinping assures us that it’s fake

Generation Genocide

Born into this way of life

Victims of our predecessors’ pride

We just wanna scream into the night

Constantly in a fight,

Fighting just to stay alive

Mother Nature is having a stroke

Assad’s chemicals will make you choke

Russia’s making Ukraine go up in smoke

China operating under the guise of reeducation is a joke

Venezuelans can’t afford to eat, so they’re being forced to flee

The world is infected with COVID-19

Afghanistan has been taken by the Taliban

Sexual violence is running rampant in South Sudan

I.C.E. has been putting immigrants in cages

Free speech in North Korea is considered outrageous

Unmarked graves underneath Canada’s residential schools

Slaves are being used to mine up jewels


Sixes in groups of three

Misery won’t set us free

Born into this fucked up world

What can we do, we have no say

Everything slowly fades to gray

Death and destruction around every single corner

Even elementary school’s have been getting visits

from the coroner

Thirty-four school shootings when it was mostly


Parents and children bursting into tears

Because death always draws near

And far too many have grown to become


Guess that’s what makes us Generation Genocide

Found himself on the receiving end of a .22

He just wanted to liberate his people and expose

the truth

His daughter found him covered in bullet holes

Because of the politicians he opposed

Freedom of speech only applies to sheep

Blood of journalists continue to flood Mexican


Don’t ask about femicide, hate crimes, the drug

trade or Inidgenous extortion

Or else your unsolved murder becomes your


Families being forced to flee their homes

Artsakh falling under Azerbaijani control

Don’t want them to have a nation of their own

Children drawing bombs and tanks

Reflecting on seeing where they grew up turn to


Feeling like there’s a hole within their soul

Can’t forgive them for the lives and land they


Who’s to say that in ten years we’ll be alive


But more importantly, who’s to blame for letting

the world get this way?

Anger and frustration burn like toxic radiation

That’s just how it is for this unfortunate



We were all forced to go and drink the Kool-Aid

Fucking up the planet, so the rich can get paid

Mother Earth continues to withstand our abuse

All of the toxic and atmospheric waste that we


Trash, oil and debris fill the seas

Marine life begin to die and catch disease

The air and water start to go up by a few degrees

Ice caps melt by the day, arctic life begins to fade


Forests suddenly set ablaze, flames burning all

the animals in its way

The survivors end up displaced, and their

populations begin to decay

Direct results of the pollution that we create

The Amazon is under attack

Her children are murdered when they try to fight


Wounds creating carbon emissions,

The complete opposite of her original mission

Bolsonaro laughing as her warriors are killed

Indigenous genocide gives him thrills

The forest cries as more native blood spills

Blessed be the protectors of the land,

Guardians making a stand,

But they must live in fear

Knowing the government doesn’t want them


So when they can’t find them,

They go and destroy their home

The sins of our predecessors, Generation

Genocide must atone

Stare into their eyes

With a heart as black as night

Look at their pain and despair

Tell them you don’t really care

Generation Genocide is losing its breath

Quiet now, don’t make a sound

Watch as humanity falters to the ground

COVID-19 and the Dangers of Misinformation

Within Latinx Communities

by Alejandra Velasco

COVID-19 and its Omicron variant continue to

spread quickly around the world and are here

to stay. Over the course of the pandemic, many

people died from COVID-19 while believing it

was non-existent. Unfortunately, the virus will

continue to change and evolve progressively.

Stuart Ray, M.D., and Robert Bollinger, M.D.,

M.P.H., specialists in the virus that causes

COVID-19, have claimed that “geographic

separation tends to result in genetically distinct

variants.” Nonetheless, many continue to deny the

existence of the virus and refuse to adhere to the

required safety measures. Luckily, according to

USAFacts, approximately 76% of the population

has been vaccinated with at least one dose as of

February 2022. However, 24% of the American

population remains uninoculated and more

vulnerable to the virus. Notably, vaccination rates

are still lower among communities of color, and

misinformation is a likely factor in that disparity.

Unfortunately, not everyone is equipped with

the tools and knowledge to distinguish a reliable

source from a non-reliable one. This causes many

to regard social media posts as credible news

sources. According to the Pew Research Center,

data suggests that 73% of the Latinx community

on social media has a strong preference for

Facebook, while approximately 34% or less have a

strong preference for Instagram or Twitter. Social

media users will often click on news links on

the social media sites, but can fail to distinguish

whether the article they are reading contains false

information. Facebook and Twitter, in particular,

allow for the dissemination of fabricated stories

faster than any other social media websites given

that billions of people view the “trending topics.”

Regrettably, stories with false or misleading

information often surround topics on the Internet.

Furthermore, many among the Latinx community

display high levels of mistrust towards political

figures and government. Case in point, some

have raised their suspicions about the pandemic

and believe that the virus was a government

strategy to depopulate the world. Similarly,

Latinx news outlets have spread rumors, hoaxes,

and conspiracy theories online with fake news

ramped up across platforms, only serving to

increase the fear and confusion among the

population. Additionally, Latinx communities

can be more likely to fall prey to misinformation

because of the linguistic gap that many face.

Without a doubt, false and deceptive information

can be dangerous, even impacting the way

people approach their health concerns. For

instance, misinformation surrounding the

safety of vaccines caused many people to not

want them. Correspondingly, stories asserting

that COVID-19 is not real or that it only affects

the elderly, such as those 65 and older, can be

detrimental to others. It can lead people to

imprudently ignore health protocols and feel

invulnerable to the deadly virus despite reports

indicating that COVID-19 can have serious

implications for people of all ages.

Similarly, certain fabricated stories erroneously

suggested that there were products, such as

Ivermectin or bleach, that could help cure

or protect a person from getting the virus.

These prompted people to dangerously and

misguidedly consume anti-parasitic medication

and home remedies with bleach. Perhaps even

more alarming, is that this was done in spite of

the messages from medical experts nationwide

urging people to refrain from consuming toxins.


Visual by Melissa Morales

However, there are steps that everyone can

take to ensure that they do not disseminate

misinformation within their communities. To

ascertain whether a source is credible, make sure

to evaluate the following criteria:

1. Is the publisher of the source reputable?

2. What are the author’s credentials and


3. Is the source up-to-date?

4. What sources are cited by the author?

5. Is there any bias?

It is critical to know not just who and where you

get your news from, but if it is trustworthy and

accurate as well. Anyone can post a tweet or an

article online but that does not guarantee that

they are actually qualified to provide medical

advice or suggestions to the public. With these

tips, not only can you distinguish misinformation

from credible sources, but you can help educate

your family as well.

Spread the word.


Conversations About Leaving Home

by Jonathan Valenzuela Mejia

Photograph by Ruth Chincanchan

“Papá, me voy a mudar a la universidad.”

For years, I wanted to say those words to my dad.

I love my father and my family with all my heart,

but attending a college on the other side of the

state finally gave me the opportunity to move out

on my own for the first time last year. I wanted to

experience a new life, one different than I grew up

with, and I finally made the decision to go forward

and pursue the life I desired.

Despite the COVID-19 outbreak postponing the date,

my dad and I both knew that I would have to move

out of our home eventually. Although it was hard for

him to see another one of his children leave the nest,

he knew it was best for my education. My father and

I had fought hard for me to have an opportunity

like being able to study at UCLA, and we would not

squander it just so I could stay home.

When the time finally came, I knew a part of him

struggled with the news. He had relied on me to

help around the house and take care of my little

sister. However, he supported me wholeheartedly

and encouraged me to forge a life of my own.

“No te preocupes, lo arreglo yo, tú ve y hazte una vida

por ti mismo allá.”

These words represented his blessing, but I knew

they were more for my benefit than his. His approval

meant the world, and I would not have been able to

take the final step without it.

The worst part is the guilt—the guilt that replaces

the rush of excitement of achieving a goal, of taking

a leap towards a future you have dreamed of.


Ultimately, I felt like a traitor that had abandoned

his family, and the feeling still persists to this day.

It is bittersweet to have the opportunity to study

at a university because I know my father would

have wanted to but was never afforded the same


“What if I had gone to the school close by instead? It

was a mistake coming here. I don’t know why I chose

UCLA when I had a perfectly good option close to


Every time that the smallest thing goes wrong while

I am at UCLA, these thoughts loop through my

head like clockwork. Likewise, when something big

happens back home, the voice persists despite the

fact that coming here was the best decision I could

have made for myself. Beyond that, I carry the weight

of no longer being able to watch my little sister grow

up. I played a fundamental role in the first six years

of her life, but now I am gone. This is a feeling that

many older siblings can relate to when moving away

for college. We essentially took on a role similar to a

parent, and when we move on to make a life of our

own, it can feel as if we have abandoned our own


Ultimately, my conversations with my father are what

helps me push past the guilt and stay motivated.

By attending UCLA, I am indirectly allowing him to

achieve his dreams of obtaining a higher education.

Similarly, I try to remember that my sister will be able

to look up to me, to see an example of someone

going to college, and find herself unafraid to make

a dream for herself. Being here, over 300 miles away

from my home and those I love most has hurt a lot,

but it has also made me stronger.

“Primero en la familia, nunca lo olvides.”

We, the children who left our homes, whether we are

ten miles away or 1,000, share similar experiences.

We feel the guilt and shame of thinking of ourselves

for once, often avoiding conversations on this topic,

since they can be heartbreaking and difficult to have.

However, these discussions are what keep us

going. They remind us of why we are here, why we

pursue the topics we are studying, and why we

are the person our families helped shape us to be.

They uplift us and prompt us to work so hard out

of love—love for our families and communities—

to ensure that those who come after us have an

example and are able to take that step and choose

themselves when the need arises.

“Recuerda quien eres, porque eso es lo que te ayuda a

seguir adelante.”

Photograph by Ruth Chincanchan

“Papá, me voy a mudar a la universidad.”

For years, I wanted to say those words to my dad.

I love my father and my family with all my heart,

but attending a college on the other side of the

state finally gave me the opportunity to move out

on my own for the first time last year. I wanted to

experience a new life, one different than I grew up

with, and I finally made the decision to go forward

and pursue the life I desired.

Despite the COVID-19 outbreak postponing the date,

my dad and I both knew that I would have to move

out of our home eventually. Although it was hard for

him to see another one of his children leave the nest,

he knew it was best for my education. My father and

I had fought hard for me to have an opportunity

like being able to study at UCLA, and we would not


squander it just so I could stay home.

When the time finally came, I knew a part of him

struggled with the news. He had relied on me to

help around the house and take care of my little

sister. However, he supported me wholeheartedly

and encouraged me to forge a life of my own.

“No te preocupes, lo arreglo yo, tú ve y hazte una vida

por ti mismo allá.”

These words represented his blessing, but I knew

they were more for my benefit than his. His approval

meant the world, and I would not have been able to

take the final step without it.

The worst part is the guilt—the guilt that replaces

the rush of excitement of achieving a goal, of taking

a leap towards a future you have dreamed of.

Photograph by Ruth Chincanchan


This playlist is curated by our very own radio team, Chismeando con La Gente. When conversations are hard,

music can help ease the stress. We focused on songs that deal with topics that words can sometimes fail to

fully express. Plug in and listen to this playlist as you read our newsmag or simply play these tunes to help

you relax!

Scan the barcode to hear the playlist featuring songs such as...

La Peor Idea de la Historia

Cora Yako

Labios Compartidos


Cayendo (Side A - Acoustic)

Frank Ocean

Si Una Vez


Samba Pa Ti



Calladita te ves más bonita:

Tackling Sexism and Machismo

by Andrea Alvarez

Visual by Nancy Romo

Muchachitas decentes; our mamás, abuelas, and

tías continuously stressed the importance of

being honorable young women, yet what exactly

makes one an exemplary Latina? According to the

aged muchachita decente philosophy, a decent

young woman is reserved, modest, and obedient.

The term acts as the blueprint for the perfect wife

and mother, characterized by her ability to care

for and serve her family. As my female relatives

compare their experiences to mine, saying things

like “a tu edad yo ya sabía cocinar,” I recount how

times have changed, and I am privileged to

have grown up under different circumstances.

However, have these old-fashioned beliefs

actually left our communities? Notwithstanding

the generations of change and progress in

combating gender inequality, the muchachita

decente model continues to impose patriarchal

norms on women.


Accordingly, expectations of how women

should behave, speak, dress, and think have

prevailed. While Latinas are encouraged to

pursue higher education and establish successful

careers on their own, we are still expected to

get married and form a family upon completing

these achievements, if not concurrently so.

This reinforces the idea that women are only

accomplished when they have a man by their side

and link their value to motherhood.

Conversely, when Latinas deviate from the

expected norms, we are labeled rebellious and

shamed for not adhering to the conventional

standards put forth by the patriarchy. Attempts to

modify our image and behaviors are disguised as

a form of protection from the dangers the outside

world presents. As a result, a woman’s autonomy

is often repressed for their own “protection”

while the sexism within our culture remains


Correspondingly, women are also expected

to act and appear modest, otherwise they are

blamed for the sexualization of their bodies.

The Madonna-Whore dichotomy juxtaposes the

constructed image of a “good” and “bad” woman.

The former wears modest clothes and is pure,

reserved and good-natured—a woman fit for

marriage. However, the latter is promiscuous,

morally reprehensible and unchaste—a woman

deemed ill-suited to handle the responsibilities

of a mother and wife. This complex is often used

to vilify women who do not behave as society

deems they should.

Moreover, the cultural and social construct

of sexuality within the Latinx community has

resulted in the hypersexualization of Latinas,

allowing their bodies and virginity to serve as

indicators of their worth. In fact, the traditional

Quinceañera celebration originated as a cultural

initiation into “womanhood,” signifying 15-

year old girls were of age to become wives and

mothers. Nevertheless, even as our Quinceañera

celebrations have evolved and deviated from

“As a result, a woman’s autonomy

is often repressed for their own

‘protection’ while the sexism within

our culture remains unaddressed.”

their original purpose, young women are still

being initiated into a culture where their value is

dependent on their sexual repression; purity and

submissiveness are encouraged in place of sexual


Ultimately, Latinas will gain collective liberation

when our communities unlearn these ideologies

and break the generational cycles of sexism and

misogyny. We must continue to empower our

young girls to raise their voices and remind them

that no necesitas callar para ser bonita.

For instance, figures such as La Malinche—an

Indigenous woman who was sold to Hernán

Cortés as a translator and contributed to the fall

of the Aztec Empire—are often mischaracterized.

Although she did turn her back on her people,

the context which informed her actions is rarely

weighed. La Malinche was sold into slavery by

her mother and villainized for her supposed

affair with Cortés despite his having purchased

and abused her. She is blamed for the abuse she

endured and disparaged as a result.


Farmworkers and Food: The Injustices Migrant

Workers Face While Sustaining a Nation

by Sarah Mejia

Food is a staple of everyday life: it is a tool for

health, a cultural outlet, and an opportunity for

social connection. This intricate relationship means

that thinking about where food comes from and

specifically who harvests it is an important topic,

but one that is generally disregarded. True social

consciousness should consider how food practices

that enrich the health of one demographic may

be detrimental to another.

Specifically, the habits of

consumers can reinforce

the negative working

conditions of migrant farm

workers who harvest the

food that is readily available

to the general population.

Labor violations against

migrant workers in U.S.

farms began with the

Bracero Program in

1942. As a response to

labor shortages in the

agricultural industry, the

U.S. and Mexico created

an agreement to provide

seasonal employment

to Mexicans. The Bracero

Program lasted over two

decades before it was shut down as a result of

unjust labor practices and rising political tensions

due to racism.

In 1986, Congress passed the Immigration Reform

and Control Act (IRCA) which made it illegal for

U.S. employers to knowingly hire undocumented

migrants. This act, however, did not end the need

for cheap labor: American employers utilized

the IRCA to exploit undocumented workers,

knowing that they would take low paying jobs out

of necessity. In a study conducted by Princeton

University, researchers found that “undocumented

migrants earn 20 percent less, on average, than

legal immigrants, while temporary legal workers

earn around 13 percent less.“ Additionally,

employers began hiding their hiring practices by

subcontracting undocumented workers. This system

allowed for plausible deniability of illegal hiring

practices and further cut undocumented worker’s

wages in order to compensate the subcontractor.

Seeing that the IRCA was

not curving any hiring

practices, Congress

passed the Immigration

Act of 1990 (IMMACT90)

which legalized the

use of foreign labor

without granting

permanent citizenship.

Under IMMACT90,

immigrants working in

the agricultural sector are

issued H-2A visas under

the following conditions:

work is temporary and

the worker will return to

their country of origin

when the visa expires.

Moreover, the H-2A visa

may be extended up

to three years, at which point the migrant must

reside outside of the U.S. for three months before

returning on a new one.

Since the H-2A visa is dependent on the employer’s

willingness to keep the worker and extend their

stay, employers hold all of the power. This fearbased

power dynamic means that many labor

violations (such as sexual harassment, unpaid

overtime, dangerous working conditions, reduced

wages, etc.) go undocumented due to the threat of



Correspondingly, migrant farm workers on

H-2A visas have less money to spend on food

for themselves and their families. According to

the California Endowment, low-socioeconomic

households (like that of migrant workers) are more

likely to be located in a food desert. These areas are

“places with large proportions of households with

low incomes, inadequate access to transportation,

and a limited number of food retailers providing

fresh produce and healthy groceries for affordable


With limited options, migrant workers who live

in food deserts struggle to achieve a healthy

diet and experience negative health effects.

According to a study conducted by the California

Institute of Rural Studies, who interviewed 971

farm workers from California’s agricultural regions,

“81% of male subjects and 76% of female subjects

had unhealthful weight.” Excess body fat due to

increased intake of processed foods is a risk factor

for a variety of health issues including hypertension,

diabetes, high cholesterol, and iron deficiency. The

study found that the majority of interviewees faced

these health issues at a disproportionate rate in

comparison to the national average of U.S. adults.

To fully comprehend the magnitude of this issue,

compare migrant workers’ low wages with the

average expenditure on food. According to the

California Agriculture journal, two of the most

utilized farm labor contractors, Fresh Harvest Inc.

and Rancho Nuevo Harvesting, contract H-2A

migrant workers for an average of $10,922 and

$8,651 (respectively) per season. Keeping in mind

that H-2A visas only permit migrants to work with

their assigned employer, these wages are not

enough to sustain a healthy diet during periods of

unemployment and application processing. This

is evident in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s

2020 food expenditure study which found that

“households in the lowest income quintile spent an

average of $4,099 on food…while households in the

highest income quintile spent an average of $12,245

on food.” Neither of these budgets are feasible

with the wages migrant workers are making, as it

represents approximately 50% of their income.

The juxtaposition between migrant workers

sacrificing their physical health for the harvesting

and distribution of healthy foods across the

country while not being able to readily afford nor

access those same foods requires an immediate

solution. As consumers, we need to bring attention

to this vital issue affecting members of the Latinx

community by admitting that we contribute to this

inequitable system. We should sign petitions, attend

protests, donate money to help migrant workers,

and call state legislators to advocate for immigration

reform. It is only just that farm workers have a right

to the same nutritious food that they work so hard

to provide us all with.

Visuals provided by Lexia Luna-Nazari

Getty Images. (2017).



Editor in Chief

Sofia Rizkkhalil

Managing Editor

Karim Isaac Hyderali

Head of Copy

Laysha Macedo

Web Manager

Jacqueline Silva

Director of Marketing

Paulina Fernandez

Content Editors

Jacky Barragán

Sarah Mejia

Jonathan Valenzuela Mejia

Copy Editors

Angelica Alcantar

Edgar Olvera

Marisol Huerta-Ontiveros

Jacqueline Silva

Layout & Visuals Editor

Haven Jovel Morales

Radio Coordinator

Alvaro Hernandez-Say

Spanish Editor

Jonathan Valenzuela Mejia


Layout/Design Team

Srujana Bhoopanam

Itzel Hernandez

Marketing Team

Jennifer Hernandez

Naomi Orozco

Radio Team

Manuel Madrigal

Jeanna Kim

Sara De La O

Spanish Team

Juan Ángel Marquez

Haydee Sánchez Resendiz

Staff Writers

Andrea Alvarez

Jowen Scarlet Escobar

Espy De La O

Lesley Gonzalez

Renee Grange

Carol Martinez

Juan Ángel Marquez

Haydee Sánchez Resendiz

Miriam Torres Sanchez

Alejandra Velasco

Isabela Zavala

Visuals Team

Ruth Chincanchan

Esiselda Linares

Lexia Luna-Nazari

Melissa Morales

Nancy Romo


Andrea Alvarez

Isabela Angulo

Elizabeth Iniguez-Figueroa

Giselle Gonzalez

Evely Torres


Twitter: @lagentenewsmag

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IG: @LaGenteNewsmag

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