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Hispanic Workers Health Needs are Overwhelming Southern Poultry Towns

Everyone’s time is set to four thirty in the afternoon in Siler City, North Carolina. It’s the hour when everyone comes home. Children come home from school and toss their backpacks on the floor. Parents come home from the chicken plants and leave their black boots on the doorstep. And Maria comes home and picks up her nine-month old daughter from the babysitter next door. Duplin County Minority Health Outreach worker Lisa Munoz counsels Rosa Maria on her pregnancy at a trailer park managed by Carolina Turkeys for its workers in Mount Olive, North Carolina. Before she steps into the shower to wash the day’s chicken grease and smell from her body, she prepares her baby’s bottle. The bottles and formula are laid out with care on the kitchen table in her single-wide trailer. The mobile home is neat and clean. There are two large sofas and a giant black television in the living room. The walls are wood paneled making the room dark and quiet. Maria puts her blue helmet away and pulls off

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Hispanic Poultry Workers Live in New Southern Slums

Everyone in Siler City, NC, knows about North Chatham Avenue. They know the street the way one knows a dark secret. Both whites and blacks shake their heads at its mention. Even though the town feels shame about the dilapidated homes that line North Chatham, little has been done. It is accepted like an illegal dump. Nobody likes to see it, but who is going to clean it up? North Chatham Avenue is neglected despite the black eye it gives the town — once the model for The Andy Griffith Show — because it is now home to a growing community of Hispanic immigrant poultry workers. Poultry worker Agustin lives with several other workers in a gas station that has been converted into housing in Rose Hill, North Carolina. Across the road is the Raeford Poultry processing plant where Agustin uses the bathroom. Finding Candelaria Bahena’s house is difficult because it is tucked behind a side street on North Chatham Avenue. Tall gray slats fence off the dilapidated house she shares with another family. Despite

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Southern Schools Strain Under Immigrant Arrivals

Luis sits at a computer working with a program designed to teach him English. He is warm and accepting, still trusting despite what he has seen. But when the 11-year-old recalls his journey from Guanajuato, Mexico to Morganton, North Carolina, his round face darkens and his eyes contract with fear. It was a bad time. Luis takes time from his English-as-a-Second Language class at Hillcrest Elementary School in Morganton, NC. Many children have harrowing tales of their family’s journey from Latin America to North Carolina chicken plants. “Walking through Texas, I think is very hard work to walk and run on the dirt. You can fall. It is so bad that it is enough to make one want to cry,” he said as he sat in Hillcrest Elementary School. The trip took 15 days and the family was separated as they dodged federal authorities. His family traveled by bus from Guanajuato to the border and then waited in a hotel for their “coyote” to guide them. A coyote is someone who leads undocumented people into

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