I have been a part of a group of Salinas residents who have been working in partnership with Harvard Co-Design, a research and community design group from the Harvard Graduate School of Design that provides technical assistance to community-based organizations and coalitions. A group of graduate researchers has been compiling a suite of evidence-based practices for local politics and governance, particularly around questions of community reinvestment, municipal budgeting processes and participatory planning.
Though I would argue at the moment we are empty as a nation, void of values, lacking empathy, and driven by dollars and ego in lieu of love, I continue to believe in standing for something brighter. To fight against that emptiness of corruption with a consciousness and truth that will shake the establishment until it falls. As ignorant hate speech fills our ears, it is our responsibility to silence misplaced rage with the glories of the truths we live everyday; to speak out, to believe, and to not scour in the shadows of political correctness and petty local allegiances.
California grows more than a third of the country's vegetables and two thirds of its fruit and nuts. That means farmhands are essential workers. Without them, we don't have food. But many farmworkers lack the resources that other essential workers in our economy have, like access to the internet and healthcare. I spoke with Gustavo Arellano about what the local implication has been in Salinas, and lifted up the power that our entire community is built upon, the power of our campesinos and folks working in the fields and packing plants that feed this entire country.