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Made in LASpread the Word

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

Food Inc and Immigrant Workers

A couple of weekends ago I saw Food Inc on its opening weekend. The film (edited by one of Made in L.A.'s editors, Kim Roberts!) is about the food we eat, and the corporations behind it, but the reason I bring it to this blog is to comment on a particularly relevant question explored in the film. Who are the men and women working in the meatpacking plants? As one might guess from the news, they're almost all immigrants. What's less clear from the news is why they're here, and how.

Food Inc delves deep into the reasons for the exodus of hundreds of thousands of small farmers from Mexico, who are losing a way of life because of their inability to compete with low-cost imported U.S. corn, often subsidized by the U.S. government and flowing freely as a result of NAFTA. (Read more here) The cycle continues as large meatpacking companies post ads in their destroyed towns assuring good wages in the U.S., even setting up bus lines to help workers come illegally to the U.S., so they work at meatpacking factories. According to the film, this practice was frequently ignored by Immigration authorities. And, despite the well-publicized, high-profile raids in places like Postville, an organizer in the film explains that the major agribusiness companies only experience "occasional small raids": 10 to 15 immigrants being detained everyday in their trailers, in what he describes as possible complicity between the company and the authorities to avoid bigger crackdowns that could slow or stop production.

I thank the producers of Food Inc for being brave enough to connect the dots, and to link the food we all eat with the lives of hundreds of thousands of people whose lives have been turned upside-down (back in Mexico and now in the US) so that we can eat meat everyday.

Hillman Prize Ceremony

We wanted to share a couple of photos from the Hillman Awards ceremony, where we were presented with the Hillman Prize for Broadcast Journalism for Made in L.A. The winners in the other categories are all journalists with long track records of work in the service of social and economic justice, and it was tremendously inspiring to hear their acceptance speeches: in some cases explaining how they became journalists, in others sharing their vision around the work they do, most often delving deep into the human stories they helped bring to light. Our heartfelt congratulations to all of them!

Robert and Almudena receive the award


Alexandra Lescaze, executive director of the Sidney Hillman Foundation, Robert and me,
and Hillman Awards judge Hendrik Hertzberg, senior editor of the New Yorker.


Made in L.A. to tour the world with American Documentary Showcase

It's now official! We're happy to announce that Made in L.A. will be among the 30 documentaries selected to be part of the American Documentary Showcase, a curated program of contemporary documentaries that is offered to US Embassies for screening abroad. Funded by, and as a cooperative program with, the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs of the US Department of State, the Showcase is designed to promote American documentaries and their filmmakers at international overseas venues, including US Embassy-organized events and/or US Embassy-supported international documentary film festivals.

The goal of the Showcase is to offer a broad, diversified look at life in the United States and the values of a democratic society as seen by American documentary filmmakers. The Showcase is intended to demonstrate the role documentary plays in fostering understanding and cooperation.

San Jose City College celebrates Made in L.A.

Last March, Dee Dee Kost called me from San Jose City College "We just had the most a amazing Made in L.A. screening and panel!" Apparently, the moderator, Bayinaah Jones, had created T-shirts with quotes from the film, and had also put quotes on banners throughout the entire auditorium! You can see a little of their event in the short video on the right:

With Chancellor Rosa Perez, wearing her T-shirt with a quote from Made in L.A.

"It'd be awesome if you could come next time!", she said. And so next time came, and I attended what I though would be a traditional screening of the film, organized in collaboration with the Chancellors Office, multiple departments and the Reel Work Film Festival. When I arrived, people were again wearing T-shirts with quotes extracted from Made in LA ("When people start to organize they stop being victims" or " I armed myself with courage") and students had created the most beautiful poster and panels inspired by Made in LA. to showcase their school papers. Word had gotten out, and I was bombarded by an army of photographers, posing for pictures with President Michael Burke, Chancellor Rosa Perez, and all the teachers who had brought their classes to the screening including History, Ethnic Studies, Labor Studies, ESL, Psychology and Math. (I remember thinking, "this must be one of the best math classes they'll ever have!")

As part of the opening remarks, in front of an auditorium packed with more than 300 people, the Latina Leadership Network, presented me (and Robert, in absentia) a beautiful Certificate of Appreciation, and the Chancellor, wearing a Made in LA T-shirt herself, presented a plaque that reads "for bringing the film Made in LA to San Jose City College and sharing the story of strength, triumph and courage". I was moved, very moved by all of this care, passion and recognition...

Our deep gratitude to all the sponsors, organizers and teachers who made this possible, and to Dee Dee Kost for single-handedly spearheading this event!

Detail from one of the panels they created -isn't it really beautiful?


With some of the teachers, sponsors and organizers of the event
This event was sponsored by: Labor Studies, San Jose City College, Office of the Chancellor -San Jose Evergreen Community College District, Office of the President - San Jose City College, Latina Leadership Network, San Jose Chapter, 9 to 5, Bay Area Chapter San Jose/Evergreen Faculty Association, AFT 6157.

Parents, High School and College students come together at Scripps Screening

I just received very beautiful comments from several students who helped plan a recent event at the Scripps College, which I attended with Maria Pineda (one of the stars of the film). The screening was organized by Bright Prospect, an amazing organization working with high school kids to get them to college, and the Community Tutoring Program, where Scripps students tutor Bright Prospect students. Tim Sandoval, Director of College Counseling at Bright Prospect, also serves on the Board of the Diane Middleton Foundation, which has generously supported both the production and the outreach work around Made in L.A.

The room, which was packed with parents, teachers and students of all ages, was full of energy and, when I introduced Maria, everyone rose to their feet and gave her a standing ovation as she approached the stage. On the drive home, Maria confided "I truly felt like a star...!" The Q&A was emotional and powerful, with parents and their children sharing their thoughts about each other and the journey towards accomplishing their dreams. Afterwards, with our hands full of presents and flowers, the Bright Prospect students asked us to sign the very T-shirts they were wearing! Here are some of the comments they just sent me:

"The experience of watching the movie with my parents changed my relationship with them. It got me even closer to them and it helped me appreciate them more for all their efforts and sacrifices." -Ana Soto

"Made in LA was very emotional. Watching the film meant a lot because after watching it, my life changed in certain ways. The film reminded me of the many family members I have that are immigrants. It changed my point of view by helping me decide to be more determined and focused on my education and most of all to work hard and to be the best I can be in this beautiful life that was given to us." -Christopher Elguea

"...It proves that minorities should never be underestimated and that united, we can conquer! I came to appreciate my parents' efforts to a greater extent. It was an enlightening experience." -Elizabeth Zamudio

"Made in LA was an awesome documentary. It was inspiring because it shows the importance of humbleness and hard work in order to achieve a dream." -Juana Rodriguez

Lara Colvin, Program Coordinator for the Community Tutoring Program, shared her thoughts as well: "It was so incredible to see the turnout of people... I felt the unity that formed that night in the room, a deep sense of appreciation for the struggles people go through and recognition of the injustice of the conditions of immigrants and women and the working class... The Q&A and people's comments were really revealing and powerful. Is it always like that? Amazing." Don't miss these other thoughts from a Scripps College student blog.

Since then, the Women's Union and Centro Latino Student Affairs have shown the film again on campus and it continues to reach new audiences. And we've heard that some of the Bright Prospect students and parents are organizing to show it to community members... "It really does create a snowball effect," exclaimed Lara.

This event was sponsored by: Community Tutoring Program, Bright Prospect, Scripps Communities of Resources and Empowerment, Motley Coffeehouse, Scripps Investment Fund, Center for California Cultural and Social Issues at Pitzer, Scripps Department of History, Scripps Department of American Studies, CMC Modern Languages Department, Chicano/Latino Student Affairs Center, Asian American Student Union, Scripps Associated Students.

DC Screening Brings Together Human Rights, Civil Rights and Faith Leaders at NCLR

We just returned from a beautiful screening of Made in L.A. that was held at NCLR, the National Council of La Raza, in Washington, D.C. Sponsored by NCLR, Amnesty International and Sojourners, it was a rare opportunity to link civil rights work, human rights work, and faith-based organizing. And it was as moving as the best Made in L.A. screenings can be, as both the audience and the panel were able to connect on a deep personal level with the experiences of the women in the film.

Robert and I with NCLR's President and CEO Janet Murguía

We were honored that NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía introduced the event. As she said, "This truly inspiring film beautifully depicts the courage and dignity with which immigrants face the consequences of our broken immigration system. By delving deeply into the struggles of Latina garment workers in Los Angeles, the filmmakers speak volumes to the powerful human stories behind the immigration debate".

The screening was followed by a panel on immigration reform featuring me; Made in L.A.‘s producer Robert Bahar; Adam Taylor, Senior Political Director at Sojourners; Folabi Olagbaju, Director of Amnesty International's Mid Atlantic Office; and Clarissa Martinez de Castro, Director of Immigration at NCLR.

Robert, me, Folabi, Adam and Clarissa during the panel

As Folabi Olagbaju explained, Amnesty International is increasingly looking at immigration issues through its human rights framework, and recently launched a report entitled "Jailed Without Justice" which explores problems that exist throughout the U.S. immigrant detention system. In connecting AI's work to the film screening, Folabi said, "It is critical to raise awareness about the plight and courage of millions of undocumented immigrants in our workforce, many of whom are discriminated against and unable to affirm their basic human rights. The story captured in Made in L.A. makes a poignant and compelling case for more just and humane immigration policies in the US."

Adam Taylor talked about the amazing work that Sojourners and other faith communities are doing towards immigration reform. He also cited scripture and outlined some of the fundamental Christian principles that relate to immigration, including the deep-rooted idea of "welcoming the stranger". In addition to his work at Sojourners, Taylor is an Associate Minister at Shiloh Baptist Church in Washington D.C., and he emphasized, "In order to transform hearts and minds we must highlight the personal and moral consequences of our broken immigration system in America. This film helps remind us of the human face and real stories of our immigrant brothers and sisters and the urgent need to unite organizations, churches and leaders from across the theological and political spectrum to bring about comprehensive immigration reform."

Clarissa Martinez de Castro spoke with passion about NCLR's long history and leadership around issues of Latino civil rights, and about the need for immigration reform. Audience members shed more than a few tears as she explained her personal connection to the issues, bringing the stories from the film off the screen and into the hearts of all those present... And as Folabi pointed out, the issues of immigration reform and immigrants' rights are not issues of race or background. Rather, they are core issues of basic human dignity.

We owe a huge debt of gratitude to all the panelists, to the sponsoring organizations, and to everyone who was involved in making this happen. We want to extend a special thank you to NCLR's Patricia Foxen, whom I had met at a conference in Chicago, and who spearheaded this event with the conviction that it could be something very special. We're grateful to all of the collaborators and humbly feel that it achieved that vision!

Made in L.A. to receive the Hillman Prize in Broadcast Journalism

We're thrilled to announce that Made in L.A. will receive the 2009 Hillman Prize in Journalism, in the category of Broadcast. The Hillman Prizes are among the most prestigious awards given to journalists, photographers, writers and public figures whose work fosters social and economic justice.

Here's an extract from their press release:

Since 1950, the Sidney Hillman Foundation has celebrated the legacy and vision of union pioneer and New Deal architect Sidney Hillman. As founder and president of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, and a founder of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), Hillman is considered one of America's greatest labor leaders. His tireless efforts to bring dignity and respect to working people left a lasting legacy for the American public.

These awards give recognition to journalists and public figures demonstrating a similar sense of social responsibility, investigating and telling the difficult stories that need to be told. In an era when serious journalism is being threatened and newspapers are folding, these writers and photographers seek out stories that change lives. The awards go to practitioners in traditional and new media. Past winners include prominent figures in their field, as well as young journalists or publications that have yet to receive adequate recognition. Murray Kempton was the first recipient in 1950....

This year's distinguished panel of judges consists of Hendrik Hertzberg, senior editor, The New Yorker; Harold Meyerson, editor-at-large, The American Prospect and columnist for the Washington Post; Katrina vanden Heuvel, executive editor, The Nation magazine; Susan Meiselas, Magnum photographer and author; and Rose Marie Arce, senior producer, CNN.

"The Hillman Foundation is dedicated to promoting the role that journalism and the world of ideas play in making a difference in the lives of ordinary people. These awards are proof that journalism, at its best and most professional, can change the world," said Bruce Raynor, president of the foundation.

The award ceremony will be held May 27, 2009, 5:30-8:00 PM, at the Hudson Theatre at the Millennium Broadway Hotel in New York City.

For more info about the Hillman awards and the winners click here.



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