Mariya Strauss

A Legal Loophole Plays a Key Role in the Deaths of Teenage Farmworkers

This piece originally appeared in The Nation magazine, a project of The Nation Institute, and is reprinted here with their permission.

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I Was a Child Farmworker

Meet Norma Flores Lopez, director of the Children in the Fields campaign of the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs, or AFOP, whose job it is to advocate for children who harvest and package the food Americans buy. Food prices here stay cheap because of the labor these children provide, and yet, as Flores Lopez describes, the kids themselves must pay a heavy cost to keep those prices low. Flores Lopez, who grew up in a family of migrant farmworkers from South Texas, spoke with me about her advocacy on behalf of farmworker kids. She tells here the story of her personal journey as a child farmworker, and the work that lies ahead to help make these kids safer and to make their lives better.

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Pre-Kindergarten for All? Not By a Longshot

Trying to guess which states fund pre-K adequately is like going on "Jeopardy" with no preparation—it’s easy to draw a blank. But for the 1.3 million children in public pre-kindergarten classes around the country, it's a more than a game: live in the wrong state, and you may not have access to these crucial programs at all. 

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Grassroots Movement for Paid Sick Days for Workers Picking Up Steam Across the Country

It may seem like a no-brainer: get sick, stay home from work. But 44 million American workers do not get paid sick days from their employers, according to Ellen Bravo, director of Family Values at Work, a 16-state consortium that advocates for family-friendly work policies. In tough economic times, many workers simply cannot afford to stay out of work until they get well. Some employers will even fire workers for taking time off when they or their kids are sick, Bravo said.

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