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Living Under The Trees: Indigenous Mexican Farm Workers in California

Created: 23 October, 2009
Updated: 26 July, 2022
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2 min read

California Rural Legal Assistance partners with Award-Winning Photographer to present a traveling photo exhibit:

 A partnership between David Bacon and the non-profits, California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. and the Binational Front of Indigenous Organizations, Living Under the Trees will tour locations throughout California during 2009, accompanied by public events that promote cross-cultural understanding and community dialogue. 

 Living Under The Trees, featuring recent work by award-winning journalist and documentary photographer, David Bacon, chronicles the conditions of indigenous farmworker communities in California. According to estimates, indigenous Mexican migrants constitute over half of the state’s farmworker population. Photographs and oral history narratives convey the vibrant cultures of music, dance, food and traditional health practices, which help these communities survive under very difficult circumstances. And while the images show situations of extreme poverty, they also present people as agents of change – questioning unfair work conditions, working for better housing, and making critical decisions about their community. The exhibit also underscores the consequences of economic dislocation from Mexico, and the challenges that dislocation creates for these communities in California.

 California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. has been serving farmworker communities for over forty years, and has been working closely with indigenous farmworker families for over a decade. CRLA advocates work at both the county and state level to secure safe, affordable housing for farmworkers. The CRLA Oceanside office continues to partner with Carlsbad residents in their years-long effort to provide affordable housing for immigrant workers employed in the city’s strawberry and flower fields. In addition, CRLA Oceanside provides outreach and education to farmworkers about their on-the-job rights, and the enforcement of health and safety and other labor laws.

 Living Under The Trees presents a thoughtful series of photographs and personal stories that explores the unique challenges indigenous communities face, while also celebrating the culture and community spirit that sustains them. This exhibition helps to highlight the ongoing need for legal support and education to protect the rights of these communities. The exhibition will be on display at San Diego’s Institute of The Americas from October 29 – November 27, 2009.

 Thursday, October 29, 2009 6:30-8:30 p.m. – Opening reception includes Q & A with exhibiting photographer/journalist, David Bacon, and local indigenous community leaders.  Followed by exhibition viewing and refreshments.

 October 29 – November 27, 2009 – Exhibition on display at Institute of the Americas, International Lane, University of California, San Diego. Viewing is from 10a.m.-5p.m. and free to the public.

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