voices

Kettleman City

Shafter

My daughter is almost always by my side at meetings...

Delano

Fresno

Nobody ever studies the cumulative effects of anything. It's always, “Oh well, this won't be harmful for you. This and this amount will be harmful to you.” This won't be harmful to you, but how about all together? Nobody's talking about that...

The air district governing board has historically been a problem...

The anger in me was what drove me for a lot of years...

Seville

If we have this local air district that supposedly does outreach... how come they never came to our community?

Regardless of doing my medicine, my lungs are still deteriorating anyways because of what's in the air...

When the woman combed her hair bunches of it would come out...

Alpaugh

East Orosi

We would sit under a tree and tally all the trucks going by and what they were carrying...

I do understand. I am sorry I can’t express myself, but I am not stupid...

"At least your kid doesn't have to be here defending his life. Mine does..."

Those who work the land are lifting and making California stronger, but how does the governor of California help the field workers? How, when they work for a wage that is not enough to live on? California has grown because of the cheap labor of Hispanic people, but when one needs help there is nothing.

I remember reading the articles and hearing them say that the probability of cancer was one in a million. I didn't want to be that one in a million...

There is one that thanks me for what I’m doing here. That is God...

We’re a very small community but with many problems...

We wanted a healthier, cleaner environment...

They'll say “Oh, it's mass hysteria, you're hung over," or, "It's just something you ate that's making you nauseous.” No, it's the pesticides, and don't doubt it...

Cutler

I felt a lot of my activist work to be very redemptive...

Looking at a problem firsthand is very different from just hearing about it...

I think the Central Valley and Mexico have a lot in common in terms of water...

I had no idea what an activist was. Now I know there's a name to it, not just a “troublemaker.”

I'm not a tree hugger, and I never saw myself as an environmentalist...

Orosi

We really had no idea that we were living next to California's largest toxic waste dump...

Our street was the first street to get evacuated...

In Mexico each little town has a municipal office where you go to log your complaint. Then you go to another office and so on until you reach the office of the President. We didn’t have water there either, I remember...

We need a piece of the American pie too...

Allensworth was the first black state historic park...

The bees have buffers and we don’t?! ...

They have all these regulations to make you want to give up, get tired of it or whatever, but you have to be persistent. You have to let them know you are there...

They said, "If you don’t like it, why don’t you move out?"...

There’s got to be a way to educate people...

Grayson

Along the way, we got insulted a lot about not having education and not knowing what we're talking about...

I think my first part of activism was in high school, and I probably didn’t even realize it...

The Water Board says that we needn’t do anything, that we can use the water...

On the corner, it was barricaded. It's called a stop and freeze, or freeze and keep whatever is contaminated in. They were telling people “Go back, go back, you can't come out.” And they're like “No, we're sick, and need our kids to get to the doctor. We're going to drive them ourselves..."

Visalia

At first, you are so ignorant that it's easy to say, "put it in the desert," but you start meeting people and you start understanding that there is no place to put an incinerator...

Buttonwillow

Sometimes I don't want to invite anyone over to visit me because I have very little water...

Part of the problem that we have here in the Valley is supposed Democrats are actually Valleycrats...

People say “Well, arsenic, you have to drink 40-50 years of it before it’s a problem.” Hello? I’ve been here 47...

The water from the faucet comes out mornings looking yellowish...

Arvin

First you learn the system, and then you learn to change the system...

I don’t think I’ll ever stop working for community issues...

Sometimes you get the feeling that just because it’s a rural area and Allensworth is a black and brown community that the people of the upper class seem to see us as nobody...

After 9/11, there’s been a lot of hate crimes against Sikhs...

It looked like London fog out there, and in here it looked like San Francisco fog...

I’m not saying anything different from what they’re saying, but the fact that I have a degree, it’s recognized and it has some status...

There's not a whole lot of respect for this region...

Those in charge of the water said that everything was alright, and the water was not contaminated, we would only have a problem if blue children were being born...

Ducor

If all the pesticides you used in this area would just fall on you in one day, then you would think about the impact...

Allensworth

The supervisors would say “Well, you don't know technology..."

You can't just sit back and wait for somebody else to do it, because maybe there is nobody else to do it...

Then, the Ku Klux Klan was standing on the corner of a gay pride parade; now, in 2007, we have Rally in the Valley, which is like a peace march...

Lindsay

All of my uncles are lechugueros, lettuce pickers...

Whether you're rich or poor, or wherever you're at, you need water...

Wasco

Every time that people appeared at meetings, they would call the police...

It almost felt like saying "Oh, thank you for just letting us be here"...

I was totally one of those people that thought that people with education and people in high authority knew what they were doing and you just let them do what they have to do...

Earlimart