Please read and distrubute carefully--
actions to come are press conference detailed below,
plus a "A Day with a Day Laborer" this saturday [9am to Noon, Grove St and Arrow Hwy, Rancho Cucamonga] where workers have invited the outside supporters to come spend a morning with them, more than protesting the minutemen who will likely be there--but to build community with them and get to know their struggles from their own words. APabloalvarado@aol.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 15, 2007
Jose Calderon: 909-952-1640
Marco Amador: 213-215-0738
Day Laborers Demand Proper Response to Kidnapping of 6 Day Laborers and Death of Worker Leader
WHAT: Press Conference
WHERE: City Hall, 10500 Civic Center Drive, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730
DATE: Wednesday, May 16, 2007
TIME: 6 p.m.
A press conference will be held at Rancho Cucamonga's City Hall demanding that immigrant day laborers receive the same police protection as all other residents in Rancho Cucamonga and Upland. We will discuss two recent incidents involving day laborers.
On May 9, 2007, near the corner of Grove Avenue and Arrow Highway between Rancho Cucamonga and Upland a sports utility vehicle approached and offered workers a job. Three accepted, entered the vehicle, and were taken to a location near the Ontario Convention Center. Here, these workers were joined by three other workers picked up at another, unknown, location. All six were placed in a different vehicle and their hands were tied. They were driven to Tijuana, Mexico, where they were abandoned. This information comes from one of the kidnapped men, who called his sister, an Upland resident, to explain what happened. His sister went to the Upland police department to file a report. Upon explaining the facts that she knew, she was asked by police if the kidnapped workers had legal documentation to reside in the United States. It was not until she and her husband pressured the police did they agree to file a report.
The day laborers, their organizations and supporters call for authorities to fully investigate the alleged kidnapping of the six day laborers. Immigration status bears no relevance to the reporting of a potential crime. We demand that victims or witnesses of crimes are protected when filing a complaint or report, or during and after a crime investigation. Migrants must not live in fear of police officers in our communities, and law enforcement is obligated by law to ensure the safety of all residents.
The day laborers, their organizations and supporters urge all day workers and migrants in general to be vigilant and take measures to protect themselves and each other in order to prevent further violence, labor abuses and civil rights violations against them. This incident comes at a time when day laborers in Rancho Cucamonga, as well as other locations throughout Southern California, are being targeted by anti-immigrant, vigilante groups.
Just last week, day laborers on the corner near the alleged kidnapping were targeted by protestors from Save Our State and the Minutemen. As workers remained longer than usual to peacefully defend their corner, one of their leaders and fellow workers, Jose Fernando Pedraza, was killed when a collision caused a car to veer into their corner, striking several and killing Jose Fernando.
To this date, neither law enforcement nor Rancho Cucamonga City officials have come to the site where the tragedy took place to discuss the accident with workers. In fact, a large pool of dried blood remains uncleaned by the City and can be seen by those whom continue to mourn Mr. Pedraza's death. The day laborers, their organizations and supporters denounce the lack of response. We call on City officials to clean the blood spilled during the tragic event and offer condolescences to the workers and loved ones.
In memory of Mr. Pedraza, and in response to the demands of the day laborers, their organizations and their supporters, we call on the City of Rancho Cucamonga for the creation of a Day Labor Center named after Jose Fernando Pedraza. He dedicated the last five years of his life fighting to build a more humane and safer environment for workers and their employers to meet and carry out negotiations in peace and in harmony within the community. Ultimately, Mr. Pedraza died as a result of an unsafe environment; we urge the City to recognize this and provide a solution - a center that offers protection for the health and safety of day laborers, employers and the community at large.