THE BRACERO PROJECT An educational/organizational project to recover the history of the migrant farmworkers
The purpose of this project is to recover the history of the border agricultural workers, from their origins in rural México, to the agricultural fields of America. This history has been ignored by both countries. Close to 5 million braceros helped this country, yet nobody remembers them. Once they were no longer needed in the United States, the Mexicans who participated in the Bracero Program had to return to their homelands without ever receiving, to this day, recognition for their valuable contribution.
Today there are few persons remaining who were involved with the Bracero Program. There are groups of braceros in the "Comarca Lagunera" of Coahuila and Durango, Chihuahua, Michoacán, Jalisco and Zacatecas, as well as in other places. The vast majority of these valiant workers find themselves almost financially ruined, growing old, unhealthy and depending on their families who are also quite poor and living plainly from public charity. Others, continue working in American agriculture suffering exploitation and discrimination.
Once the history is recovered, then we can contribute to the recognition of the efforts made by the Mexican farm laborers in the United States. If this recognition is achieved, then the old braceros (and the future braceros) will receive dignity and maybe, a compensation for their efforts.
EDUCATIONAL ORGANIZED EFFORT TO OBTAIN THE RECOGNITION OF THE MEXICAN AGRICULTURAL WORKERS' EFFORTS IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
EDUCATE THE SOCIETY OF THE UNITED STATES ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTION OF MEXICANS TO THE COUNTRY'S AGRICULTURE.
THIS PROJECT WILL HAVE ITS BASE OF OPERATIONS AT THE CENTER FOR BORDER AGRICULTURAL WORKERS IN EL PASO, TEXAS AND WILL CONCENTRATE ON REALIZING ITS WORK UNDER THE FOLLOWING ACTIVITIES:
1. To recover the history of the farmworkers and to promote its circulation.
a. Interview the protagonists in the places where they survive: Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Zacatecas.
b. To compile documents, photographs and objects of that era.
c. Publish a book on the history of these farmworkers.
d. To publish the story of Pedro Gómez.
e. To promote the history of the farmworkers via video cassettes, interviewing and filming small groups, those farmworkers that can be contacted in the Center for Border Agricultural Workers in El Paso, Texas.
f. To establish a website to promote this effort.
2. To establish the "Bracero Day" on November under the following activities:
a. Inaugurate a plaque on the campus of the Autonomous University in the City of Juárez to commemorate the old bracero center.
b. A festival in the Center for Border Agricultural Workers where farmworkers and their families would be honored with medals for their time spent working in the agricultural industry of the United States.
c. A public reading of the farmworkers' requests from the United States government in front of invited representatives of the media.
(Read the letter to Congressman Silvestre Reyes.)
The director of the project is Carlos Marentes, director of the Border Agricultural Workers Project, El Paso.
If you like to know more about this effort, please contact:
Border Agricultural Workers Project
201 East Ninth Avenue
El Paso, Texas 79901
Tel. (915) 532-0921
Fax: (915) 532-4822
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