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CNN: Blue state, red valley: In this part of California, a new generation is more woke than ever

Updated: Oct 28, 2019

Harvesting Wheat by Hand

At Calwa Park's El Dorado Taqueria, Celedon orders mangonadas for herself and two of her closest allies: Amparo Cid and Aida Macedo. The three women slurp their mango drinks laced with chamoy and chile-lime salt and reflect on the things that inspire their activism.

Cid and Macedo, both 34, are young lawyers who left more politically comfortable environments in San Francisco and Los Angeles to devote their energies to the Central Valley.

"There are so many Calwas in California," Cid says. "People here have been kept down for so long."

"I didn't even know where Fresno was," adds Macedo. "Then I come out here and realize people don't even have safe drinking water here. Or sidewalks. I had never seen illiterate people before."

Agriculture is a $47 billion industry in California but there's a mighty chasm between farmers and their laborers, who are mostly minorities and immigrants and make next to nothing for toiling long hours in fields and factories. That's why cities like Fresno and Bakersfield top the list for most concentrated poverty. That's why a Congressional Research Service study found parts of the Central Valley were even poorer than Appalachia.



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