Young Latina Documents Migrants of Duroville

The Purepecha: the Poorest of the Poor, subject of a documentary by Cheryl Quintana Leader

By Ana Madrid
Published on LatinoLA: October 18, 2010

Young Latina Documents Migrants of Duroville

In support of the San Jose Community & Bea Main Learning Center (www.ikidsj.com), a non-profit providing high quality services and educational program opportunities toward better futures for our harvesting families led by Sister Gabriella Williams, a short documentary, "The Purepecha: Poorest of the Poor," by filmmaker, Cheryl Quintana Leader of INDIVISION2000 Productions (www.indivision2000.com/purepecha_media.html), specializing in creating educational media in English/Spanish for the Latino Community, has been successfully screening and providing panel presentations to educate and bring awareness throughout communities within southern California.

Through the eyes of Stephanie Maldonado, a young Latina youth from a disadvantaged neighborhood in Long Beach, the film sets out on a hot summer day where she discovers the world of our hard-working migrant families at Duroville, a dilapidated and broken down trailer park in the Coachella Valley.

Just minutes from one of the wealthiest tourist destinations and provider of a billion dollar crop industry, third world living and working conditions are witnessed within a 21st Century United States. This cinematic exploration takes place among the lives of an indigenous Indian tribe of close to 6,000 seasonal migrant farm working families, some known as the Purepecha, who originate from Michoacan, Mexico.

Now residing just southeast of Los Angeles, these families are highlighted through co-host, anchor/news reporter, Tamara Damante (KESQ-CH 3) and interviews with Arturo S. Rodriguez III (UFW President), who cites that "we all have the responsibility to help out the people making sacrifices to feed us every single day," and several other community leaders, like Sergio Carranza (Pueblo Unido CDC) teaming together to bring light to this American issue.

As the social injustices are unveiled among those exploited and deemed the 'poorest of the poor,' by David Kelly of the Los Angeles Times, viewers begin to realize that these families are dutifully delivering yearly harvesting of the fruits and vegetables on all our American tables.

And, in an historic decision, U.S. District Court Judge, Stephen Larson rules that the trailer park housing these families in third world poverty conditions be repaired or be provided alternative humane living conditions. He astutely observes, "on the one hand, the U.S. portends that the undocumented workers lack legal status while at the same time predicating the economic efficiency of an agricultural industry on their hard work. It appears that the U.S. has once again, established a rather 'peculiar institution' to service our agrarian needs."

Having been praised by First Lady, Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey, the film has been invited to screen and present panel forums hosted by AFTRA during Hispanic Heritage Month, the Palm Springs Intl. Short Film Festival, the HollyShorts Intl. Film Festival, the Indio Performing Arts Center/Coachella Valley Latino Intl. Film Festival, as well as, several college and universities such as, UCLA's Chicano Studies Research Center, UC Irvine's Latino Medical Student Association, CSULB's Latino Student Union, and Cerritos College Social Justice Class, among others.

Mid-October, the film will be screened and paneled for the Palm Springs Human Rights Commission, early November, for the Venice Family Clinic, which provides free, quality health care to people in need, and February 2011 for Geogetown University's Amnesty Film Festival.

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