It’s 4:45 a.m. A Guatemalan day laborer wakes up in his Staten Island home that was damaged during Hurricane Sandy. By 5:45 a.m. he needs to be at the same street corner where he always waits for contractors when they come by looking for workers. It’s dark and rainy outside, and he’ll be soaked by the time he’s picked up. It’s no way to start a day and just one of many reasons why permanent hiring halls are needed, and have been an goal of one New York City organization since it first started.
El Centro del Inmigrante is a Staten Island group that promotes the economic advancement and security of immigrant workers. We partnered with El Centro during the Spring 2013 semester as part of a unique collaboration at The New School between Milano Urban Policy students and Parsons’ Communication Design students. Our goal was to envision a new hiring hall in Staten Island.
Since starting with Lucha Libre USA when it was founded in 2010, RJ Brewer has become infamous as the company’s resident asshole. He is intimidatingly muscular and marked by a glaring, pushy demeanor, but he’s notorious because he’s made it his goal to degrade Lucha Libre USA’s predominantly Latino audience. It is not uncommon for Brewer to stare down an audience of thousands of Mexican-Americans and tell them he thinks they all need to go back to Mexico.
The point of the Brewer storyline is “to keep the show relevant to U.S. Hispanic culture,” says Lucha Libre CEO Steve Ship. “RJ is a phenomenal wrestler, he’s certainly entitled to his opinion, and I think a wrestling ring is the perfect place to shine light on the topic.”
After his arrest, Cardenas was plucked from the county jail by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, who drove him to a Tacoma detention center. He didn’t get to say goodbye to his parents, siblings, or friends. He never got to see a lawyer—detainees have no right to representation—and after six weeks in a federal detention cell, he was loaded on a plane and flown to Arizona and then bused to the border.