Pregnant 17 year-old dies picking grapes in California

// 9 June 2008

[Edit: See also Brownfemipower’s post]

Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez was 17 years old and pregnant when she died, having collapsed from the heat while picking grapes on a farm in California, reports

San Joaquin County authorities are considering whether to pursue criminal charges against Vasquez Jimenez’s employer, Merced Farm Labor, which was issued three citations in 2006 for exposing workers to heat stroke, failing to train workers on heat stress prevention and not installing toilets at the work site.

The Atwater company has yet to pay the $2,250 it owes in fines.

As nezua at The Sanctuary puts it:

If only this 17 year old girl had been seen as a human being, working hard for a future, and in need of certain care and protection. Like water. And shade.

Instead, she, like so many still are, was seen and treated like a modern-day slave, with no feelings or purpose beyond production…

The first thing we need to do, before we organize ICE teams to pound down people’s doors; before we drool and dream like our hearts were hatched in an ALIPAC scheme of shipping all migrants out of “America”; before we invest in another spool of barbed wire or razor topped fencing, laser sighted guns or biometric identification; before we fund Blackwater another dime; before we sink our teeth into another piece of yummy fruit is PROTECT THE PEOPLE IN OUR MIDST.

Comments From You

Philomela // Posted 9 June 2008 at 11:36 pm

Brownfemipower wrote about this also, before the papers picked up on it

habladora // Posted 10 June 2008 at 12:56 am

I found this story in the Spanish press, in El Pais, a couple of weeks ago. While I’m glad it is finally getting some attention, the fact that it has gotten so little attention in the English-language press is… disturbing.

Shea // Posted 11 June 2008 at 6:01 am

This is actually too appalling for words. It is a form of modern slavery. I think Nezua is right, we have to protect the people in our midst. As much as I’ve been opposed to an amnesty for illegal immigrants in the past I really have started to reconsider that view. Immigrants to this country and the States, whether illegal or seeking asylum are treated atrociously. Reading Brownfemipowers’ posts on the Mexican/American border, it sounds horrific, certainly as bad as anything thrown up by Israel on the West Bank. These are people, does being born 30 miles apart, on either side of the border make them so very different?

Just imagine for a moment, a world without borders, without nationality….. no false glory to hide behind, only a commitment to care for and support the global citizens of this world.

Maria, está en mis pensamientos, yo espero que usted y su niño está en la paz por fin.

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