Dr. Gilbert Gonzalez and Dr. Vivian Price’s documentary draws near-capacity crowd during CSULB’s Ethnic Studies Week

Dr. Gilbert Gonzalez and Dr. Vivian Price’s documentary film Harvest of Loneliness drew a near-capacity crowd during CSULB’s Ethnic Studies Week

On Tuesday, October 5th, more than 100 students filled the Anatol Conference Center to preview the documentary film Harvest of Loneliness as part of Ethnic Studies Week at Cal State University, Long Beach. The documentary, co-directed by Dr. Gilbert Gonzalez and Dr. Vivian Price, traces the experiences of migrant Mexican farm workers who were brought into the U.S. from 1942 to 1964 under the temporary contract worker program known as the Bracero Program. The film also illustrates the hardships felt by wives and families who remained in Mexico, which, having sent several million of men to the U.S. through this program, had numerous villages emptied of men. Featuring the voices of those whose lives were affected by The Bracero Program, the film asks its audience to reexamine the past in considering the implications of future temporary contract worker programs.

Following the film, Dr. Luis Arroyo, a professor in the Department of Chicano and Latino Studies, joined Gonzalez and Price on a panel. Five former braceros attended the screening and spoke to the audience about what can be learned from the poor conditions thrust upon the braceros during the 22 years of the program. Once the panelists and former braceros concluded their discussions, host and moderator Dr. Victor Rodriguez opened the discussion to the audience.

Both the documentary film and panel informed and inspired audience members to want to prevent future injustices imposed upon migrant laborers. CSULB student Carissa Raquel Perez posted the following comment on the film’s Facebook page 2 days after the event: “Thank you so much for coming to CSULB and shedding light on the Braceros. I was truly moved by this film, [and] as a Latina woman I will do everything in my power to fight for the justice that is so rightfully deserved for the ex- Braceros. Muchas gracias otra vez, agradesco la compassion [sic] y fuerza de la comunidad.”

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