No More Sweatshops
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Made in LASpread the Word

People in the Film

Guadalupe “Lupe” Hernandez (32) is funny, charismatic and sassy. She is also less than five feet tall and learned at a very young age that she had to be tough to survive. At 17 she left Mexico City to join her sister in Los Angeles, where she quickly adapted to life working in garment factories. At the Garment Worker Center, Lupe's strength and natural leadership qualities are quickly recognized, but the price of knowledge is sometimes too high, and we will see her in moments of depression, enthusiasm and epiphany. Late in the film, Lupe is offered a job as an organizer at the center, and this affords her new experiences that will change her, and her worldview, forever.

At age 22, Maura Colorado left her three young children in El Salvador and came to the U.S., alone, to work to support them. Little did she know that, due to her undocumented status, she wouldn’t be able to see them again for 18 years. Once in Los Angeles, she found work in the garment industry, but was fired from her job, in a humiliating way, after complaining about conditions in the factory. In Made in L.A., we'll follow Maura as she struggles to overcome her insecurities, fights for her rights and tries to reunite with her children, who tragically disappear in their attempt to come to the U.S. during the making of this film.

At age 18, shy and caring María Pineda (now 41) came to Los Angeles to join her equally young husband, seeking opportunities in a new country. Instead, she found herself stuck in an abusive relationship and in an abusive sweatshop job, where the owners kept the workers locked in. She put up with everything in the hopes of giving her children a better future in the United States. Gradually, the Garment Worker Center becomes a safe space for her to meet other women and grow. And it is there that she begins a long and difficult journey towards asserting her rights and reclaiming her dignity, culminating in her decision to leave her husband.

Other people featured in the film:

Joann Lo
Former lead organizer at the Garment Worker Center and current executive director of the Food Chain Workers Alliance, a coalition of worker-based organizations whose members plant, harvest, process, pack, transport, prepare, serve, and sell food, organizing to improve wages and working conditions for all workers along the food chain.
Growing up in Ohio as the daughter of immigrant parents from Taiwan, Joann witnessed the challenges faced by recent immigrants first-hand: her mom didn't speak English, and Joann, her parents, and her siblings faced discrimination and racism as they adapted to life in the U.S. Joann gained much of her early experience in activism and grassroots organizing as a student at Yale University. After college, she worked as an organizer for SEIU Locals 399 and 1877 and recently served as co-Executive Director of Enlace, a strategic alliance of low-wage worker centers, unions and organizing groups in the U.S. and in Mexico.

Kimi Lee
Former Director of the Garment Worker Center, she is now the National Coordinator of United Workers Congress.
Kimi was inspired to get involved in social justice issues at a very early age from watching her parents struggle as immigrant workers in the US. Her mother, a seamstress in Burma who later worked in a garment factory in San Francisco, used to take Kimi to the factory on the weekends, where she learned about the low wages faced by garment workers. Kimi graduated from the University of California, Davis and previously worked as the Field Director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California.

Julie Su
Workers Attorney. Former Director of Litigation at the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, she was recently appointed as the State Labor Commissioner of California!
A MacArthur Fellow and recipient of the Reebok International Human Rights Award, Julie Su is the Litigation Director at the Asian Pacific American Legal Center of Southern California (APALC), and gained national prominence from her representation of Thai and Latina garment workers who labored in slave conditions in El Monte, California in 1995. A graduate of Harvard Law School and the daughter of Chinese immigrants, Julie became aware of the power of language at a very young age when she had to translate for her parents, and saw how language barriers affected their participation in society. Realizing that the law is really just a language – the language of power in our society – Julie decided to go to law school so she could help translate that language to those who needed it.


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