“Hola a todos los Latinos y Caribenos que viven en mi comunidad. Quiero agradecerles por todo lo que hacen. Yo se que mis paisanos no les dan mucho respeto. Eso es una falta de la educacion. Ellos no saben su realidad. La realidad es que sin Ustedes, hay mucho trabajo que no haria. Por eso, yo escribo…”
The holidays are here. It is a time of many emotions, many gatherings, many reunions, and, of course, a whole lot of eating.
Pies. Let us think about those fresh fruit pies that are a hallmark of our post-dinner workout in these parts.
Apple. Peach. Cherry. What is your favorite? I go for apple and cherry every time. I know they taste so good because they are made using local produce picked from trees when the time is ripe. The earth, the sun, the air, the rain…all of it combines to splash deliciously on my tongue.
Why do some of us cast proverbial stones at the “Mexicans,” saying “they don’t pay taxes,” and “they take away jobs,” yet we do not ask any questions of the corporate owners who hire them, or show any disdain towards the corporates?
Why do some of us not recognize that the migrant community is filling a job void that an extreme few of us maybe would consider filling ourselves? Better yet, would we want to pick fruit all day…10, 12, 14 hours a day, for weeks on end? Keep in mind, we would stand on ladders with baskets strapped around our bodies while pulling and picking one by one.
Why do some of us not understand that the hiring of cheap labor allows for the profitability of local agricultural and fructicultural industries? It is a kind of profit I do not like, but let’s recognize it for what it is.
Why do some of us not consider that members of the migrant community would love to make the money they do here but in their homeland, allowing them to live in their beloved “patria?”
Why have some of us forgotten that the United States of America is a nation that was founded and created, was and is being built, has and is continually being defined by one group of people, a group to which we all belong (less the Native Americans): IMMIGRANTS. All of us are living off of the backs of our immigrant ancestors. They paid. We are reaping.
“Hello to all the Latino and Carribean folks living in my community. I want to thank you for all that you do. I know that my fellow countrymen and women do not give you much respect. This is due to a lack of education. They do not know your reality. The reality is that without you, there is much work that would not get done. For this, I write…”
“Bee-En-Vay-Knee-Dos!” That would be how you say “Welcome!” in Spanish. We all need to start saying it to our Spanish-speaking community members. They have earned it by doing the one thing that this community has always admired: hard work.
Enjoy your pies.
(7 December 2003)