Uprooted is about globalization and the impact it has on communities and their way of life. Three immigrants share their stories of how globalization forced them to leave their home countries
Jesse & Jaime were both engineers and owned a family business that got destroyed by free trade. They were forced to stay in the US undocumented because conditions were so bad at home. Without documentation, they could only do janitorial work. Jaime also teaches new immigrants at their church.
Maricel left the country like many other Philippinos because there isn’t enough work. The government actively promotes it because they owe a lot of money to the World Bank and IMF. Maricel went to Hong Kong as a domestic worker and was beaten. She left for NY to work for a new boss on a tourist visa. Got paid $2.20/hr and worked in harsh conditions. Maricel now organizes other domestic workers to improve their conditions.
Luckner use to make baseballs for a US company. Workers work 4-8 hrs/day for $1. The company moved to China because labor in Haiti was too expensive. The Haitian government was instrumental to free trade. Anyone who spoke out against this would be in danger. Luckner’s brother was killed because of that. Luckner left on a boat because the situation was so bad. Luckner now works with a farm workers association to help fight for workers’ rights.
Thoughts about Documentary:
- The 3 stories are powerful because they show what is happening and who is behind the violence & injustice in the world. There are a lot of people who live in a bubble when they are benefitting from society. Even if they don’t agree to what is happening, they don’t want to address it.
- Want to challenge the statement that US accepts refugees. It’s not true because they do it for political and not humanitarian reasons. It brought up questions of how US citizens became refugees in a sense after Hurricane Katrina, and what does it mean to be a citizen when people get displaced from their homes and were denied things that they paid for through taxes.
- Feel disgust towards how the US is exploiting people in their own countries. Also not sure what can be done given corporations are so powerful and people don’t believe this is happening in other countries.
- We should separate between what the government of a country does and what people do. Love for people is important because there can be no transformation without love. Immigrants still have love for their nations even though the governments ruined them. It is hard for Americans to accept these problems because their ideal vision of who they think they are and what their country is about is crumbling. When we address these issues, it should be about what your government did to our government. When it’s at a personal level, we should express love towards each other.
- Some immigrants who have “made it” in the US feel privileged and realize it’s important to acknowledge that as we work towards cultural transformational change.
- The documentary explains how undocumented immigrants have been forced to leave their countries. It is very powerful to use when there is division within immigrants communities about those who are undocumented.
- The film tells personal stories and triggers emotions. It helps bring out the human connection. However, the film is very powerful and some people may need to be eased into the exposure and conversation first so that they won’t reject it without giving it a chance.
- Need to see how we can the stories to extrapolate unity & relationship building between AAs & immigrants. For example, both AAs and immigrants do a lot of labor organizing.
- Should try to integrate more interaction at the next session – bring music & theatre, try to use stories & videos to build relationships
- The story of Luckner and companies in Haiti leaving for China because of cheap labor is one way that AAs can connect w/ immigrants.
- Maricel’s mistreatment as a domestic servant and the Philippines govt actively sending people offshore to work is also something that AAs can relate to. Both AA and immigrant women do domestic work. Should see if they are working together or are divided & separated in getting better working conditions.
- There may be themes in which we can build a campaign of mutual experiences in US and at the global level where US goes off & invades other countries. There are also words of precaution that mounting such a campaign in a public way may bring about certain harm & risks to ourselves because we’d be threatening an empire.