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Invisible citizens feed the world: Implications of structural inequalities on the livelihood of farmworkers

Guest speaker Raul Gamez will lead a three-hour interactive workshop titled “Invisible citizens feed the world: Implications of structural inequalities on the livelihood of farmworkers”. The session will explore the invisible conditions endured by undocumented and migrant workers in the agricultural industry and the leading institutional, cultural, and legal forces that shape exploitative labor practices, and broader systemic inequality. Applying concepts, frameworks, and theories in class, the guest speaker will address prevalent issues farmworkers face including work visa regulations, poor working conditions, barriers to citizenship and residency status, and unequal compensation. The session will also discuss the role of government funding, social policy, and regulative behaviors in social institutions that sustain and maintain worker rights issues faced by farmworkers (i.e. FLSA limitations of worker protection orders), and present, a cross comparative analysis between farmworker conditions and slave labor trends. Following the aforementioned overview, the session will conclude with a discussion about change making processes, through grassroots organizing. The guest speaker will present a case study example from his experience working with an organization in North Carolina committed to community empowerment through storytelling, art and activism. As a learning tool, speaker plans to incorporate the addition of mural crated by youth that tells a story of the struggles and barriers faced by farmworkers in a local community. Through this session, students will gain contextual knowledge about the pressing issues facing undocumented and migrant farmworkers, engage a structural analysis of systemic inequality, and learn more about the role of grassroots organizing in social change, as social work practitioners.

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