WASHINGTON - To mark the anniversary of Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard’s introduction of the CARE Act legislation in September of 2009, this coming Wednesday, September 15th on Capitol Hill, select scenes from the upcoming feature length documentary, The Harvest/La Cosecha, will be screened before Congress. The film shows what many in the United States find difficult to believe; that it is legal for American children aged 12 and sometimes younger to toil unlimited hours in near 100-degree heat, harvesting the fruits and vegetables that we eat in America today.
US. Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) has long sought to end this double standard that exists in America’s child labor laws. On September 16th of last year, she introduced The Children’s Act for Responsible Employment (CARE Act, HR 3564) that address the inequities and harsh conditions faced by hundreds of thousands of American children currently employed in agriculture. As of September 1 the legislation has 103 co-sponsors. “I applaud Eva Longoria Parker, Robin Romano and Shine Global for using the power of film to shine a light on the plight of child farmworkers in The Harvest/La Cosecha. As this film documents, children in agriculture too often work in dangerous and exploitive conditions, which are illegal in every other industry. That is why I authored HR 3564, the CARE Act, which would raise labor standards and protections for farmworker children to the same level set for children in all other occupations,” Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard said.
"I want to commend Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard for her leadership in Congress on the CARE Act. The plight of migrant children has been an issue very near and dear to my heart. Using my voice to help Shine Global and U Roberto (Robin) Romano to raise awareness about this moral imperative has been an incredible honor. This has been one of the most important issues I have had the opportunity to work on." Said Eva Longoria Parker.
THE HARVEST/LA COSECHA is the story of children who work as many as 14 hours a day eight months a year in the burning hot sun, without the protection of child labor laws. These children are not toiling in the fields in some far away land. They are working here, in our back yard, in America.
Not since the work of Walker Evans, has the world of these agricultural workers been so vividly and intimately depicted. As many as 400,000 migrant child workers in the US journey from their homes traveling from state to state, farm to farm, crop to crop, picking ¼ of all the produce we eat. These children are American citizens. All are working to help their families survive while sacrificing the birthright of childhood: play; stability; school. The film profiles several of them as they work through the 2009 harvest. Whose families will be “lucky” enough to get work? Which families will be separated? Which will be deported or injured or killed? Will any manage to keep their dreams alive?
Award winning filmmaker and photographer U Roberto (Robin) Romano followed 5 families over the course of two years, traversing the country from Florida to California and Texas to Michigan numerous times, giving us our most intimate, touching and disturbing look to date at the lives of the children who feed America.
THE HARVEST is being produced by Shine Global, a 501(c)(3) non-profit film production company dedicated to ending the abuse and exploitation of children worldwide through films that raise awareness, promote action and inspire political change. Shine’s first documentary, WAR DANCE, was nominated for an Academy Award and two Emmys. Contributions to Shine are used to produce its films and net profits are returned to the children it documents through local non-governmental agencies.