Statement from the family of Selena Hidalgo and the Workers’ Center of CNY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday May 24th 2018

Press Contacts:

Rebecca Fuentes rfuentes@workerscentercny.org 315- 657- 6799

Kayla Kelechian kkelechian@workerscentercny.org 315-385 9874

Syracuse, NY: Statement from the Family of Selena Hidalgo Calderon and advocates the Workers’ Center of Central New York.

“My daughter and my grandson were my life, she was my first born and I feel like a piece of my heart is gone.”

-Estela Calderon, mother of Selena Hidalgo Calderon

When a mother loses a child, no matter what age, they grieve for their baby, for their toddler, for their teen, for the adult they would have become. The grief of losing a child to illness or an accident is immense but more so losing one’s child to an act of senseless violence. As members, friends, and staff of the Workers’ Center of Central NY, we grieve alongside Estela for the loss of her 18-year-old daughter, Selena Hidalgo Calderon. Estela describes Selena as a tender-hearted daughter and loving mother of her one-year-old son, Owen Hildalgo Calderon.

A hard-working mother, Selena was one of the many thousands of upstate NY farm workers who have contributed to the state’s agricultural industry.

The Workers’ Center of Central New York organizes with farmworkers around the region for equal rights and access to basic protections at the workplace. It also builds community among farmworkers who have lost their jobs or who experience the many hardships of being marginalized laborers. Selena’s death is an immeasurable loss, but it was also preventable.

We see her death as linked to the precarious, isolated, and vulnerable living conditions of immigrant women working in rural areas. Living with limited resources, little to no access to transportation, and persecuted by state agents, immigrant women are afraid to report domestic abuse or assault and often have no way to leave dangerous situations. As a workers’ center we stand up for the rights and dignity of low-wage workers and build community and organize precisely to end these cycles of isolation and violence. We will continue to fight for a world in which every person has equal access to basic services and protections.

Upon learning that Selena and her one-year-old son were missing we organized a press conference in Sodus, NY to alert the broader community and have them join us in our search. We were able to activate a network of people who gave us information of when Selena was last seen. Shortly after, we learned of her death. Her one-year-old child is still missing.

“What has happened to my family is unfair. I want the perpetrator to go to jail forever. I do not want another family to be hurt in this way.”

As Estela’s statement reminds us, we are guided by collective principles of family and community and we mourn and rally alongside Estela because she is part of our extended immigrant family. In these very difficult times we stand in solidarity, in accompaniment, and as witnesses. We denounce all forms of violence against women and children and call attention to the particular vulnerabilities faced by immigrant families. If anyone who reads this knows or suspects an immigrant woman is suffering assure them they are not alone and please contact us at 315-218-5708 or direct them to the following resources:

Worker Justice Center of NY Domestic & Sexual Violence Project for Farm Worker Women 24-hour Crisis Hotlines – WNY (866)343-8808 & Hudson Valley Region (845)471-3033

Vera House, Inc. 24-hour Hotline (315)468-3260

The Victim Resource Center, Inc. 24-hour Hotline (866)343-8808

If you are able to contribute to a fund for Estela and her family during this difficult and painful time, please visit the following Go Fund Me page:

https://www.gofundme.com/support-estela-and-her-family

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