Migrant workers throughout America influence our daily lives in so many ways, often unseen.
From our beloved houseplants to the food on our tables, they are the cultivating hands of this land that we often forget to acknowledge and thank. According to the Arizona Department of Agriculture, Arizona is responsible for exporting fruits, vegetables, eggs, beef, milk, wheat, seeds, hay and cotton to 70 countries and across the United States. This includes potatoes, tomatoes, pecans, melons, and lemons—just to name a few.
Life has become challenging for many of us throughout this pandemic, and so have the lives of many essential migrant workers who are still out in the fields—often with little to no protection. Many migrant workers have the difficulty of facing dangerous ongoing conditions: extreme heat and humidity; overcrowded housing and transportation; and lack of access to healthcare.
Now, in the middle of a pandemic, we see how these life-threatening challenges become more extreme for many migrant workers across Arizona and the entire United States. Many employers have prioritized production over lives , making their employees buy their own COVID-19 protection gear, such as masks for $8. When the first round of stimulus checks were distributed, many undocumented migrants across Arizona received nothing, making it harder for them to survive already challenging conditions prior to COVID-19.
With essential migrant workers facing so many hardships, Southwest Key wanted to give back. So, each of the UM programs in Arizona set up a drop-off station for our remote staff to deliver the items. We also partnered with Adelante Healthcare, an Arizona-based network of healthcare centers. As an organization, we strongly believe in the importance of our essential migrant workers and we wanted to give back. Through community efforts, Southwest Key gathered about 5,000 essential items like face masks, razors, bars of soap, deodorant, combs, hairbrushes, nail clippers and lotion. Adelante Healthcare then went to farms to deliver all of our donations to the migrant workers who needed them.
Migrant workers are part of the essential backbone of this country and it is important that they get the care they deserve. At Southwest Key, we strongly believe in improving the quality of life for the youth and families we serve, especially during trying times like these.
This is why it’s important to stay involved in efforts to help those in need—knowing that there is always more work to be done and we’re ready to keep at it.