Yolanda Alaniz reads “Who Will Mourn the Laborers?”

Yolanda Alaniz
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Who will mourn the Laborers?

Who will mourn for the laborers
who work the poultry line
the house keeping line
the dairy cow line
the meat packaging line
the food service line
getting my car fixed line
and the assembly lines in the fields and factories?

Who will mourn the farmworkers
who are not allowed to shelter in place
as they are deemed “essential” by the government
but must report to duty without masks
without appropriate social distancing to pick fruits and harvest vegetables
for American grocery stores to feed USA families?

Who will mourn for these trabajadores whose hands work the land
who are confined by their temporary visa
or without papers to be paid a minimum wage
or less if they work piece work
with no overtime dinero even though it is owed
no health insurance
no safety standards
no union protections
and forced to be beholden to their plantation owner as slave hands?

Who will mourn these campesinos
who are the most vulnerable
the most exploited
the most susceptible to the coronavirus
as they work side-by-side
sleep head-to-toe in bunk beds
and are packed like sardines in the employer’s van
to and from work?

Who will mourn the workers, women and men
who enter el campo
or their one-bedroom apartment
to have a few hours of sleep
as they are tormented with nightmares of
no job
no food
no home
as they fall asleep thinking of their families
wondering if they will wake up in the morning
to see them again?

By Yolanda Alaniz, April 5, 2020
Freedom Socialist Party,
Coordinator of the Comrades of Color Caucus, Los Angeles
Los Angeles, CA

Yolanda Alaniz is co-author of Viva la Raza: A History of Chicano Identity and Resistance, a best seller from Red Letter Press.

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