Friday, August 30, 2019

Package explores how immigrant poultry plant workers have transformed a West Virginia town

Amy Fabbri teaches an English as a Second Language class
to plant workers (100 Days photo by Justin Hayhurst)
recent series by 100 Days in Appalachia paints an intriguing picture of how immigrants working at Pilgrim's Pride poultry plants in Moorefield, West Virginia, have transformed the local community over the past 15 years and left many residents struggling to reconcile social ties with politics. 100 Days is a West Virginia University project launched after the 2016 election, in collaboration with The Daily Yonder and West Virginia Public Broadcasting, that aims to provide in-depth narratives of Appalachia that aren't often reflected in parachute journalism.

The first piece in the package lays out the basics: how Hardy County has become more diverse over the past decade because of the Pilgrim's Pride plants, and why so many of the workers are immigrants.

The second piece is a portrait of a class that teaches English to plant workers, many of whom just got off third-shift work. The class is vital to immigrants, since there are few other foreign language services in the area. The piece also explores the cultural divide between long-time residents and immigrants, and describes the ESL teacher's efforts to bridge that gap.
Moorefield, W.Va. (Wikipedia map)

The third piece puts some faces to the local immigrant population with photos and interviews of some of the adult ESL students.

The fourth piece is an in-depth feature of a local restaurant that makes pupusas, a stuffed corn cake that's the national dish of El Salvador. The owner says she's not just providing a piece of home for Central American plant employees, but that her dishes are also expanding the palettes of many native Moorefield residents.

No comments: