Jayaram’s Reactions to the US

Protestdgff1_tmbStudents are very active and
interested in learning more about the garment industry in India and other
countries. Citizens in the US have demanded that their governments
allocate money to stop sweatshops. So far we have visited Lewis and
Clark College and Reed College. Thanks to Frazer Lanier for
being very supportive of factory workers in India. Thanks
to Linda and Ralph Schmoldt in Portland for allowing me to stay in their home
for so many nights.

On Tuesday Feb 20 we went to
Bend, OR and met with members of Jobs with Justice.
They are all working to improve the lives of garment workers and this makes me
very happy. Sometimes in India we think we are all alone but after
visiting Bend its clear we have so much support.

Not only have we educated students but we also met with Portland City Council offices. I spoke with 3 offices and even met with Jim Middaugh, the Chief of Staff for Portland Commissioner Eric
He sat and spoke with me about the problems and also the other issues
they are supporting in the city of Portland. Many of the other offices
responded in favor of the Portland Sweatfree ordinance. This is very
promising for the working class of India. I only hope that the city of
Portland will make the necessary financial commitments that are a very
important part of the Sweatfree ordinance. Thanks to Deborah Schwartz
for introducing me to the city of Portland commissioner offices.

When the government of the US stands up to injustice around the
world, other countries listen. For instance in 1999, the US demanded
there be no more child labor in the garment industry and so child labor has
drastically decreased.

I was very surprised by the low
prices at Wal-Mart stores. I have learned more about how Wal-Mart exploits
workers at every level because they want to see things at low prices.

to Trina for doing all the driving and feeding us when we are hungry. I
have learned from Cynthia that workers in the US are also exploited.
Betty is a strong union leader and I am learning about how to do better
organizing from her. Unfortunately Betty and I can’t speak too much
directly since she speaks Spanish. Thanks to Nora for helping Betty and
I communicate!

Thanks to ILRF for giving me this
opportunity and I hope to be able to come to the US more often.
Finally thanks to Los Angeles immigration
officers for letting me come into the US.