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Latino/a Heritage Month - North Shore Community College

And just one day later I took a quick flight up to Boston for a presentation organized by the wonderful Gloria Lopez of the Diversity Leadership Council of North Shore Community College. The event took place in their big gymnasium, where College president Wayne Burton introduced the film, emphasizing the importance of Latino Heritage Month. The organizers devoted special attention to inviting community organizations serving youth (which received free copies of the film) and it was great seeing families, youth, professors and students together at the screening.

Latino/a Heritage Month - King's College

On September 28 we took a bus from New York to Wilkes-Barre, PA to do a presentation at King's college. The event was organized by Isabel Balsamo (with the support of Brother George, both pictured), coordinator of the Hispanic Outreach program, a program that brings high-schoolers and youth to the King's College campus for the summer so that they can get comfortable in the university setting and apply to college -their success rate so far is 100%!

Latino/a heritage Month - Normal/Bloomington, IL

On September 15th, the first day of Latino Heritage Month, I traveled to Normal, Illinois to do a series of presentations an a keynote speech at the Latin American/Latino Studies annual gala at Illinois State University... At the invitation of Professor Maura Toro-Morn from Illinois State University, who spearheaded the events, I arrived in Normal only to find a full house at the city's Normal Theater, along with press waiting to ask questions about the film.

After the Q&A, the Central Illinois Organizing Project (CIOP) held a prayer vigil in front of the theater. The idea was to bring together folks who didn't know each other and to ask someone to volunteer their story. In my group, a women cried while telling her story: she had come to the U.S. as a school student and when her visa ran out, she worked in all sorts of full-time jobs while studying, experienced humiliation, but endured and was eventually able to get her high-school diploma, then her Bachelor's, and she's now a PhD candidate. She's paid taxes the entire time but she still has no papers. This was just one of the moving stories at the vigil that underscored the human impact of the current immigration system, and the many lives that could be touched by reform.

On the third day, I visited Illinois Wesleyan University for a moving presentation at the Student Center. Professor Kathleen O'Gorman had contacted me a few months earlier, and by coincidence I was already planning to be in the area at ISU, so she put this presentation together quickly and how glad I am! A full house once again and a very intimate conversation with the audience left me energized and wanting to return to these twin cities!

The ISU events were sponsored by: Latin American and Latino Studies Program, College of Arts and Sciences, Diversity Advocacy, Fell Trust Committee, University Housing Services, Milner Library, Women's and Gender Studies.

The IWU event was sponsored by the Latin American Studies Team of the International Studies Program, the Office of Co-Curricular Programming, the IWU Action Research Center, the Women's Studies Program, the Hispanic Studies Department, and the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs.

Screening of Made in L.A. at the Diocese of Orange

We haven't blogged for a while - but for a good reason, as we have been on the road with Made in L.A. for much of the Fall in celebration of Latin@ heritage month across the US. Here are a few events we attended:

At the end of the summer, we headed to Orange County to present Made in L.A. at a meeting of parish representatives from the Diocese of Orange, which had contacted us to promote Made in L.A. for screenings in their 60+ parishes in Orange County as a tool to explore issues of low wage work, immigration reform and immigrant rights.

Anna Nersesyan (our wonderful outreach assistant), Robert Bahar, Bishop Flores, Sister Eileen McNerney, Lupe Hernandez, Georgeann Lovett, Almudena Carracedo, Angelo Paparelli, Shirl Giacomi, Maria Aroyo.

The panel featured us and Lupe, as well as Maria Aroyo, Education and Formation Coordinator from Catholic Relief Services; Sister Eileen McNerney, Founder of Taller San Jose; Angelo A. Paparelli, Immigration Attorney and Blogger.

Georgeann Lovett, Director of Respect Life, Justice and Peace from the Diocese of Orange commented on the event: "I received VERY positive feedback from the event. It was considered very timely... very powerful (someone referred to it as potent)... The documentary and the discussion highlighted why people are immigrating into the United States both legally and illegally; the problems with trying to come here legally; how women are treated; the garment industry; worker exploitation in general; the idea that people of the same ethnic background are preying on their own; the situation of separated families; our Catholic Social Teaching regarding immigration, and the list goes on and on. Everyone walked away with powerful images and new awareness of this issue, its complexity and ways to better understand and get involved."

Ladies Night in North Carolina

We wanted to share these beautiful words from a wonderful screening of Made in L.A. that took place in North Carolina, organized by the WNC Worker's Center:

"Last week, the Western North Carolina Worker's Center and Nuestro Centro, the local Latino community center, hosted a screening of Made in L.A in Asheville, NC. It was a Ladies' Only night - prizes, non-alcoholic daiquiris, and cheese and chocolate fondue! Before the screening everyone introduced themselves and shared a job that they once held in their home countries or in the United States - there were nurses, painters, and factory workers. We then played cherades - one round about what makes us proud to be women and another round of any abuses we have suffered at work. The screening was powerful. Throughout the movie there were tears, smiles, and lots of head nodding. We each recognized a part of our own story in the movie - some of us had left sons and daughters behind in our home countries, many of us struggle with our partners telling us not to get involved, others had worked in the sewing industry or in some kind of production, and some of us had felt those moments of defeat in our community organizing.

Making Vandanas. This one reads "All united for a better future"
After the screening each woman was invited to decorate a bandana for the Southern Povery Law Center's Bandana Project. At first, everyone was timid - and then suddenly there was a flurry of creativity. One of the bandanas said "Las Mujeres Luchamos Hasta el Fin". Another one simply read "Dignidad".

We want to thank the folks at Made in L.A. for this film. It is not just a beautiful and powerful movie, it is a wonderful way to bring people, especially women, together."

PBS Viewer Responses

Read what PBS viewers had to say about Made in L.A. Many stations will air Made in L.A. during August and September, so if you missed the broadcast in your city or what to find out when your PBS station will air it, check local listings every week for up-to-date information!

"THIS show moved me and I fell in love with three strangers I've never met. When a documentary can do that to someone, it's a sign of greatness. Thank you Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar for enlightening me and so many others. I'll be sure to think twice when making ALL my future purchases with the likes of these three in mind." - Victor Velez

"Rarely - okay hardly ever - do I do this sort of thing - post thoughts on a website. But, as you can see, I was really moved by this documentary. Well done. Thank you for making it. Thank you, POV for sharing it. These women are an inspiration." - Annette

"Blown away! This is such a sensitive reporting of a difficult, complex and frustrating reality. POV just keeps on bringing me to tears. Thank you for telling stories that need to be told. I wish this was what TV is usually...and that pigs could fly!" - Carole

See more, and a lively discussion on the issues of immigration and sweatfree purchasing, on the POV website!

Newsweek blog: D-9 vs. Made in L.A.

Newsweek just posted a blog about Made in L.A. "We Love Aliens (Just Not the Illegal Kind)" compares District 9 (yes, you heard it) and Made in L.A.: "Despite the documentary's successes (it is heartbreaking and great), it seems that the country is much more content to deal with a scaly, mumbling alien face than a real, human face." Interesting cultural anaylisis. Check it out here!

Take Action - Write a Letter to the Editor!

In light of the upcoming PBS broadcast, we're encouraging you to write "letters to the editor" to your local or regional newspaper, addressing immigration reform and using the Made in L.A. broadcast as a timely hook and as an empathy engine to personalize the issue. We worked with America's Voice to make this easy! Just click here - and use the template letter and online tool to easily send a personal message to your local media. Policy makers look to letters like this to get a sense of their constituents' views, so this can be a persuasive tool!

PBS series POV re-airs Made in L.A.!

We're excited to announce the 2009 Encore broadcast of Made in L.A. on the PBS series POV on Tuesday, August 11th at 10pm! At a time when policymakers are working on a major overhaul of the immigration system, we are happy that Made in L.A. can offer a revealing look at the human side of the immigration debate and the experiences of immigrant workers.

To see if your PBS station is one of over 70 stations airing the film next week check local listings or download the full press release for station information (in English or Spanish). Keep in mind that many stations will air Made in L.A. during August and September, so check back every week for up-to-date information!
La serie de PBS P.O.V. reemite Made in L.A.!

Estamos encantados de anunciar la reemisión de Made in L.A. en Estados Unidos en la serie de PBS, P.O.V.! Será el martes, 11 de agosto, a las 10 de la noche. En un momento en que los líderes políticos y sociales están trabajado en una revisión importante del sistema migratorio, Made in L.A. ofrece una mirada reveladora a la cara humana del debate migratorio y las experiencias de las y los trabajadores inmigrantes.

Para ver si tu estación de POB es una de las 70 estaciones que van a emitir la película la semana que viene, comprueba los horarios locales o bájate el comunicado de prensa con información detallada de las estaciones (en español o en inglés). Ten en cuenta que muchas estaciones emitirán Made in L.A. en otras fechas durante agosto o septiembre, así que comprueba los horarios locales de vez en cuando para información actualizada!

Made in L.A.'s Community Screening Campaign continues!

After the amazing success of our May Day Community Screening Campaign, we extended this effort during the summer, until after Labor Day! Until September 15th, We're inviting national organizations, grassroots groups, congregations and individuals across the country to organize special screenings, houseparties and actions around Made in L.A. in a nationwide effort to put a human face on the issues of immigration, immigrant workers' rights, and supporting humane immigration reform.

To learn more about the campaign, and see our short web-videos, visit our "May Day to Labor Day" Community Screening Campaign page. Join the movement and start planning your own Made in L.A. event today!
¡La Campaña de Proyecciones Comunitarias continúa!

Tras el éxito rotundo de nuestra Campaña de Proyecciones Comunitarias del Primero de Mayo, hemos extendido este esfuerzo hasta despues del Día del Trabajo! Hasta el 15 de septiembre, invitamos a las organizaciones nacionales, grupos de base, congregaciones e individuos en EEUU a que organicen acciones, eventos especiales y proyecciones de Made in L.A. en un esfuerzo nacional para poner una cara más humana a los temas de inmigración, los derechos de los y las trabajadoras inmigrantes y en apoyo a una reforma migratoria justa en EEUU.

Para saber más sobre la campaña, y ver nuestros pequeños web-vídeos, visita nuestra página de la Campaña de Proyecciones Comunitarias "Del 1 de Mayo al Día del Trabajo" . Únete al movimiento y comienza a planear tu propia proyección de Made in L.A.!

Bad week for immigration reform -call for action!

"This was not a good week for immigration reform", reports La Opinión. "The Obama Administration continues adding to the domestic pressure by handing down more controversial decisions ...The Department of Homeland Security expanded the 287(g) Program so that there are 11 more localities in the country where police will help capture and remove individuals that are considered "dangerous criminal aliens." The problem is that the new agreement doesn't guarantee an end to the abuses committed in violation of the federal guidelines by local police and sheriffs when they arrest peaceful laborers instead".

At the same time, Congress is passing "measures that continues the piecemeal approach to immigration policy and puts comprehensive reform at further risk by taking away important issues that could be used in the negotiations for a just and fair reform." (read the full article here)

The Reform Immigration for America Campaign is calling for action: "This week, we need to make sure that Senators hear directly from you. What the nation needs is a comprehensive immigration reform to fix our broken immigration system. Sideshow amendments like the ones added to the Senate Homeland Security appropriations bill are distractions and potential obstacles to real solutions that the vast majority of Americans are calling for. The Campaign sent out targeted alerts both for Senators who voted conscientiously, and for Senators who chose bad politics over good immigration policy."

Because Made in L.A. portrays the struggle of many undocumented workers, a humane immigration reform is one of the key actions we hope the film helps spark. We're following closely all the developments of this important legislation so that millions of people in this country, like the women in the film, can live their lives with dignity in this country. Take action now! Send a fax to Congress in support of a comprehensive immigration reform!

United Methodist Task Force on Immigration promotes congregation-based screenings of Made in L.A.

The United Methodist Task Force on Immigration has endorsed Made in L.A. for viewing by congregations nationwide as a means of introducing and promoting dialogue on issues of immigration and justice in the United States. The task force has also prepared a study guide and other educational materials for use in relation to local showings.

Bishop Minerva Carcaño of Phoenix, Arizona, chair of the task force, says that the story in the film "beautifully illustrates the courage, perseverance, and strength that these women show daily in caring for their families, contributing to their communities, organizing to overcome exploitation, and building a life that is both inspiring and challenging." "In the end, these women discover the power of their collective voice as they stand together in unity against exploitation... After watching Made in LA, I know you and your church will be inspired to join in the movement for comprehensive immigration reform," the bishop writes in the introduction.

For details and the entire announcement, click here.

Made in L.A. makes a mark at the FIA-UGT Union National Conference in Spain

The organizers of the V Congress of the FIA-UGT union recently asked to screen a clip of Made in L.A. and for me to speak about the film. FIA-UGT, one of the two largest unions in Spain, represents 79,000 workers in mining, textiles, energy and chemicals, and so the film connected with the experiences of many of its members. In the 10-minute webcam interview that I sent them, I spoke about the issues in the film and about the ways in which the experiences of immigrant workers in the US resemble emerging trends in Spain. I was truly happy that the Conference, which brought together hundreds of organizers from all over Spain, decided to feature the film and the issues in it, especially because of the difficult situation that immigrant workers now face in a Spain that was particularly hit with the economic crisis...

I was impacted when I saw the photos: "my image" speaking to hundreds of attendees in huge hall!

Almudena receives Spirit of Humanity Award

During a presentation at Sonoma State University, Sophoan Sorn, director of the San Joaquin Film Society and the San Joaquin International Film Festival, took the opportunity to come present me with the award that Made in LA had received at the inaugural festival months before. It was quite emotional for Sophoan, who had first come to Sonoma County years earlier, when he and his family emigrated from Vietnam (read his beautiful blog about it), for me, and for Lupe, who had come with me to present the film.

The Spirit of Humanity Award, as it states in the plaque, "honors an exemplary filmmaker and activist who uses film as an important social instrument to advance, celebrate, and promote humanity. This award is presented to Almudena Carracedo for her selfless dedication to uphold democracy, equal opportunity, and basic human rights as experienced in her directorial feature Made in L.A." How beautiful...

Flor Crisostomo, a compañera in sanctuary

Last time I was in Chicago to present Made in L.A., I was introduced to Flor Crisostomo, a wonderful woman who has been living in sanctuary at the Adalberto United Methodist Church for the last year in order to fight a deportation order. Her story is powerful, and a living example of resistance and the power of the sanctuary movement. I gave her Made in L.A. to encourage her, and she wrote me back with beautiful comments about the film and its similarities to her life of struggle... I'll post here a summary:

"I saw the film twice... it's really impressive and with so many similarities to my life, and to the life to millions of workers in the US. When I arrived to California I also worked in a textile company...

[Made in L.A.] shows the transformation of three beautiful women, who in the process of achieving justice for themselves as women and their dignity, were able to learn what few immigrants are able to do for fear of reprisals.

The story of Maura, who ahs spent more than 18 years without seeing her children, is basically the story of many immigrants. I myself have spent more than 9 years without seeing my children, educating them in the distance via phone and like many others missing the most important dates in the life of our children. As mothers, we suffer psychological damage everyday because we ask that when we eat, theyre also eating, that they don't suffer as much through their sick days and are healthy and safe, and that on mothers day they don't feel alone."

I encourage everyone to send her letters of support, and to support her in other ways if they can (she sells the most beautiful and earrings that she makes herself in order to support her and her family while in sanctuary. For more info about Flor and her struggle, and to get in touch with her, visit her website and blog. Thank you!


Flor Crisostomo, compañera en santuario

La última vez aque estuve en Chicago para presentar Made in LA me presentaron a Flor Crisóstomo, una mujer excepcional que lleva viviendo más de un año en reclusión en la iglesia de Adalberto (United Methodist Church), luchando contra una orden de deportación. Sus historia es muy poderosa, y un ejemplo viviente de resistencia y del poder del movimiento de santuarios. Le di el DVD de Made in L.A. para animarla, y a petición mia me escribió con unos comentarios muy bonitos sobre la película y las similitudes con su vida de lucha. Incluyo aquí un segmento:

"Vi dos veces la película... es muy impresionante y con tantas similitudes con mi vida y pienso que con la de los millones de trabajadores en EEUU. Cuando llegué a California yo también trabajé en una compañía de textil...

[Made in L.A.] muestra la transformación de tres bellas mujeres, que en el transcurso de justicia para su genero y para su dignidad las llevo a conocer lo que no cualquier migrante puede darse el lujo de hacer por temor a represalias.

La historia de Maura, que ha pasado más de 18 años sin ver a sus hijos, es prácticamente la historia de muchos inmigrantes. Como en mi situación que he pasado mas de 9 años sin ver mis hijos, educándolos a distancia a través del teléfono y perdiéndonos las fechas mas importante de la vida de nuestros hijos. Sufrimos deterioro psicológico como madres todos los días porque pedimos que al comer nosotras ellos también estén comiendo, que en sus enfermedades no sufran tanto y no les duela absolutamente nada, y que en ese día de las madres no se sientan solos."

Animo a todo el mundo a que le envíen cartas de apoyo, y a apoyarla en otras formas si pueden (vende aretes y collares preciosos que ella misma fabrica para poder sustentarse a ella y su familia mientras se encuentra encerrada en condición de santuario). Para más información sobre Flor y para ponerse en contacto con ella, visita su página web y blog en



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