As Los Angeles moves to highlight Native American, African American and immigrant communities as part of a multi-million streetscape and pedestrian improvement project, the city unveiled a new monument dedicated to Braceros.
Between 1942 and 1962, millions of Mexican laborers came to the United States through the Bracero Program. With World War II causing a shortage of field workers, the U.S. welcomed Mexicans to fill the void. And while the program allowed farmworkers to earn more than they could have back in Mexico, there was no shortage of violations on their rights and civil liberties all while doing backbreaking work. Back in 1957, the Saturday Evening Post assigned photographer Sid Avery to document the experiences of Mexican field workers. The images showed the men on farms, standing shirtless as they were dusted with DDT and living in their temporary housing.
The new statue in Los Angeles, located in Migrant’s Bend Plaza in downtown LA, was created by Dan Medina. The about 20-foot-tall monument features a worker holding el cortito.
“These men left their families to go north and endure difficult working conditions for little pay to support their families,” L.A. City Councilman Jose Huizar said in a statement, according to the Los Angeles Times. “It is important that we honor them, their hard work and their contributions to this country.”