Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Migrant workers turn DJ

In Immokalee, Florida about 25 miles outside of Ft. Meyers is Radio Conciencia 107.9 WCIW-LP. It's a small local station with a strong religious streak and at that point is pretty normal. But WCIW is entirely run by a group that migrant workers and migrant worker advocates. Those advocates are collectively known as the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. They've been a lot more vocal lately with the presidential pressure to spontaneously add 11 million new American citizens.
The station informs listening migrant workers (illegal and otherwise) of their rights and airs news of their Mexican, Haitian, Guatemalan or Caribbean homeland. It even delivers mundane messages — someone needs to reach a relative, for instance — to workers, most of whom don't have phones. To my understanding this service is illegal... but commonplace in remote areas such as Alaska. More here.

It is the 5th radio station built bu the Prometheus Radio Project based in Philadelphia. They have a page about the raising.

The radio station already succeeded as a media tool of the CIW in applying pressure to Taco Bell. Just last year the fast food Mexican restaurant chain agreed to meet the Immokalee workers’ demands. This included a direct pay increase to the workers that more than doubles their current wages.