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AFL Labor Mini Series

When I was in my early teens, I was aware of the grape boycotts that made the United Farm Workers a household name. Being raised in a union family, I kind of had an understanding of boycotts and how they affected things. And I was definitely aware of strikes, since my dad — and, consequently, the family — weathered a few of those at John Deere. And when we went to the grocery store, we were always cautioned not to buy California table grapes.

A Latina woman named Dolores Huerta was the seed and a good chunk of the powerhouse behind what eventually became the United Farmworkers Union, which made huge improvements to the lives of largely migrant farmworkers who worked the fields of California.


In the early 1950s, Huerta got a degree and then began teaching elementary school in Stockton, California, where she saw that her students were living in poverty with not enough to eat and other basic life necessities not met. She became one of the founders of the Community Service Organization in Stockton, which was instrumental in beginning to improve conditions for farmworkers and to fight discrimination. It also helped people fill out tax forms, get children into schools, and study for citizenship.


Also active in this effort were Gilbert Padilla and Cesar Chávez.


Chávez was active in organizing area workers to become more politically active and try to change things. The combination of Huerta's organizing and negotiating skills and the talents of Chávez, which included dynamic leadership and public speaking prowess, made them nearly unstoppable. They formed the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA).

One of the key tactics to their success was going door-to-door and holding house meetings, which connected people in community-based, intimate ways.

It worked.

The big event that birthed the United Farm Workers was when Filipino workers at Delano table grape growers struck, and the NFWA voted to join them. It was a rare instance of unity among two separate groups of workers with distinctly different heritages. They knew that employers often pitted workers in one area and type of farming against another whenever they demanded better wages and job conditions, so it was a prime opportunity for solidarity.

This was also a critical time to use the tactic of community support to rally people around them, especially with the political and financial resources that the grape growers would use against them.

But what also helped immensely was the use of nonviolence as both a tactic and a moral principle to guide them.

A national grape boycott was called.

A hunger strike by Chávez brought thousands of farm workers out to see him daily and to the evening masses, and it solidified their resolve. Robert Kennedy came out to meet him. Combined with pressure and awareness of the grape boycott from other unions like the UAW and AFSCME, as well as time and financial assistance to the strikers, in 1969, Delano finally came to the table and agreed to a new contract.

At its peak, 14 million Americans participated in the grape boycott.

What did they win?

— An end to the abusive system of “labor contracting," which meant jobs could be assigned by favoritism and bribery. Now, they had a hiring hall, with guaranteed seniority and hiring rights.

— Protection from the pesticides that sickened and killed many farmworkers

— Wage increases

— Fresh water and toilets in the fields (previously scarce commodities)

— A medical plan so farmworkers could access health benefits

In 1972, the United Farm Workers were officially accepted into the AFL-CIO.

A movie about the United Farm Workers and Cesar Chávez was released in 2014; here is the trailer in case you want to dig a little deeper. Link to the movie itself is below.

Joy

Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

The mesmerizing lost art of darning knit fabric.

For most of human history, people had to make their own clothing by hand, and sewing skills were subsequently passed down from generation to generation. Because clothing was so time-consuming and labor-intensive to make, people also had to know how to repair clothing items that got torn or damaged in some way.

The invention of sewing and knitting machines changed the way we acquire clothing, and the skills people used to possess have largely gone by the wayside. If we get a hole in a sock nowadays, we toss it and replace it. Most of us have no idea how to darn a sock or fix a hole in any knit fabric. It's far easier for us to replace than to repair.

But there are still some among us who do have the skills to repair clothing in a way that makes it look like the rip, tear or hole never happened, and to watch them do it is mesmerizing.

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Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
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