“Here’s My Heart”
“Here’s My Heart”
Thousands of immigrant workers flooded to Nevada's casinos in the 1980s and 1990s, pushed by economic crises and civil wars in their countries of origin and pulled by global gaming's insatiable hunger for workers. The stories of the immigrant women both mirrored and substantially differed from those of the African American women who preceded them. Of every race and multiple languages, the new workers were poor people who shared with their African American coworkers a legacy of endless work and struggle. But unlike native-born workers, immigrants, who had often lost both families and homelands to war, globalization, and U.S. imperial dreams, struggled to survive in a new language and within a culture that did not appreciate and often actively disparaged them. In this chapter migrating women describe their lives and the confrontation between themselves and global gaming—not as a series of events that might be reported in the newspaper but rather as a process of transformation in which ordinary women, unwilling to turn away from suffering and in the context of a grassroots union open to their leadership, take on responsibilities that unite them in struggle with others. In time—in Las Vegas—this alliance would result in the construction of an extraordinary base of worker power.
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