This past week, we watched Made in L.A. in class. I think this was the biggest eye opener to me, and it really helped me see why the Be Green Challenge is so important. It was disgusting to see people, just like you and me, being treated so unfairly, and working in such inhumane conditions.
I think growing up, I heard the term sweat shop always used as the butt of jokes. There was no way sweat shops were actually still around, right? Wrong. In her article, "Made in the USA: Latinas/os?, Garment Work and Ethnic Conflict in Los Angeles' Sweat Shops," María Angelina Soldatenko looks at the structure of sweatshops, which "promote Third World conditions in the US in addition to promoting inter-ethnic and intra-ethnic conflict among workers" (Soldatenko). I don't think we ever take the time to step back and really think about where the clothes on our back come from.
The film in class really drove that point home for me. Being a native of L.A., I probably shouldn't have been as surprised to discover all of this, but it still hurt to think that as a consumer, I could have been promoting those unsafe work environments/spaces.
Overall, I'm really excited to see what this challenge brings up in the next few weeks! It's going to be important to learn about being responsible shoppers!
(PS-I've included a clip of the film! This 7 minute section really encompasses a lot of the struggles that Chican@/Latin@ immigrants face when they come to LA looking for work)