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Immigrant workers launch radio station to counter Trump’s attacks

Los Angeles, May 9 (EFE).- Immigrant workers in Southern California have created an Internet radio station to counter verbal attacks on undocumented Latinos by President Donald Trump and his allies.

Radio Jornalera is a project of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), comprising more than 70 worker centers across the United States.

“The idea is to generate pride in being a jornalero (day laborer), pride in being an immigrant worker. Because when you have pride, when you have a very strong identity, nobody is going to humiliate you,” NDLON director Pablo Alvarado tells EFE.

Luis Valentan, a 46-year-old Mexican immigrant who came to the US in 1991, traded his construction tools for a microphone to become host of the Radio Jornalera program “Voces Jornaleras” (Day Laborer Voices).

“We are going to parry the blows from Trump,” he says. “We want to ensure that the people who listen to us, especially the day laborer community, become empowered and recover what they have been losing through all these attacks.”

Co-hosting the program with Valentan is Victor Aguayo, 56, whose deliberate way of speaking adds gravitas to the discussion.

The first five episodes of “Voces Jornaleras” have featured Valentan and co-host Victor Aguayo, 56, talking with experts in immigration law and with their fellow day laborers.

“We want to leave a legacy to other generations that it’s important to speak, it’s important to take action, it’s important not to lose that collective I,” Valentan says.

Currently confined to the Internet, Radio Jornalera is trying to find a spot on the FM airwaves. In the meantime, the day laborers are experimenting with live feeds over social media.

Last year, members of the Pasadena Day Laborers Center began the process of transforming a small storeroom at the center into a radio studio.

All of the work, from the electrical wiring to putting up the sound-proof walls, was done by the day laborers themselves, producer Edgar Manuel Vicente says.

The official launch of Radio Jornalera is set for June 1 with eight hours of programming per day, including English classes and practical tips on things such as how to negotiate with employers about pay.

NDLON’s Alvarado said the plan for the station includes offering a platform for employers and public officials.

“It’s a matter of demanding our rights, but (also) to be part of the civic life of the places where we live and work, because that’s what will change minds and hearts,” he said. EFE

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