Mountain Indians organize in New York due to pandemic

Yoloxóchitl Marcelino is a young woman from Alacatlatzala, Na Savi community belonging to the municipality of Malinaltepec in the Montaña de Guerrero. She lives in the Bronx, New York. Since March, when the quarantine began, it has seen and experienced the damages of the Covid-19 pandemic,

All the migrants have affected us a lot, they practically closed businesses where both our partners and we worked, we are unemployed. During this difficult time for families, life here is expensive, there is no way to have many savings. They bombarded us with news of deaths, every day contagionsMillions all over the world, there was news stress because we didn’t know how long this was going to last, ”says Yoloxóchitl.

More or less with the reopening in the parts that has been done very few people have recovered their work, including her husband who has a job but his hours and days of work have decreased. In some places wages were also decreased, workers are not given full days.

As for his basic expenses, he tells us that the rents are expensive, in his case, for the three-bedroom apartment where he lives with his family, he pays $ 2,400 monthly. “We are two families plus a cousin, between the three of us we divide the quantity. We have family and as for the weekly food, eating simply spends about 150 dollarsThis does not include meats because including that is higher as $ 250.

Knowing the Toro Meco organization

Yoloxóchitl came to the United States 6 years agoAt first, he only had contact with close relatives, cousins, uncles, but two years ago he began to contact people at events.

She coincided with a former high school classmate who invited her to be part of the organization “Toro Meco”, in which there are indigenous activists from the Yuvi Nani community Metlatónoc municipality and other places.

When I joined I began to meet people from the mountains, from Guerrero and from the country. There is another group in formation called Las Voces del Pueblo, I have spoken with people who speak the Nahuatl, Me’phaá languages, they agree that there was a loss of work, difficulty paying the rent. ”

It is difficult to dialogue with people from the communities, they do not trust the activists so easily, they do not want to discuss their problems, it is a bit complicated. Mistrust, they don’t want to go to programs, there has been a myth that if you go to the hospital or the court you can be arrested. They do not want to approach aid programs or projects. It is complicated, says the indigenous activist.

There are those who want to do forums but not all people have time to attend, work limits the time to do one thing. You either work or attend one thing. Of 50 you invite, only 5 would attend, sometimes it is thought they will ignore.

Dealing with the mistreatment of other Mexicans

On the other hand, in the Consulate they treat the countrymen badly. I have not been touched by someone who yells at me or makes me feel bad, but at least two family members say that They treated them as an ignorant person, a little who does not understand them and they start yelling at them.

They want people of Mexican nationality to be more cordial but there is a problem with them, sometimes that is why they think that the same attitude will have United States officials, says Yoloxóchitl

For his part, Luis Ángel Gallegos, a volunteer and activist, points out that groups such as Toro Meco, or the Transnational Peoples Network of which he is a part, They integrate groups of people from indigenous peoples, from different states such as Tlaxcala, Puebla, Guerrero.

They have come together to promote social inclusion, but also economic, cultural, and full access to rights. Many civilians do not fully understand Spanish when developing in their language.

It has been promoted and identified there is a problem with people, in addition to being evidenced by the high contagion that struck the migrant, undocumented, deported communities or a public charge with a very expensive receipt by the health services. There is fear and ignorance they seek to identify it, expose it against the state of New York and to see that omitted reality.

After the pandemic, it continued the economic crisis that has been reflected in job loss, employment in services, restaurants, houses was reducedSome more, as essential workers, have lost a significant part of their income and have not benefited from the government due to their irregular quality in immigration status.

Their projects led them to the Governor of New York

Given this, projects have emerged such as the one led by the Network that seeks the existence of a relief program for the payment of rents and rentals.

Recently They had a meeting with the Governor of New York in which 10 members were present who exposed the reality they live. Although they recognized that a lot of food has been distributed, people do not only live on food.

There was an income support program but it does not work for people without documents, its access has been complex, it ignores the people of the towns in a diverse city.

Rent in New York is expensive, for a single room you can pay up to $ 600 if you share it. Despite reduced job development for migrants, there are no support options even for those with children born in the United States.

Migrants have many times invested their money in building a house, buy land or get small properties, I wish there were financial education classes, to understand how money works, says Yoloxóchitl.

Text from The Dekonstruction.

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