Change Agents 10/7/21: The struggle for basic rights for Maine farm workers

Producer/Host: Steve Wessler

-Examining the conditions for farm workers in Maine
-Discussing the racial bias against farm workers imbedded in US laws
-Discussing the important pending legislation in Maine to provide farm workers with greater rights

Guests: Thom Harnett and Mike Guare are both lawyers from Maine who have and continue to work to provide farm workers with the same rights that other American workers have. Thom is a state representative from Gardiner. Mike works for Pine Tree Legal Assistance.

About the host:
Steve Wessler will soon will be starting his 28th year of working on human right issues. He founded the Civil Rights Unit in the Maine Attorney’s Office in 1992 and led the Unit for 7 years. In 1999 he left the formal practice of law and founded the Center for the Prevention of Hate. The Center worked in Maine and across the USA. He and his colleagues worked to reduce bias and harassment in schools, in communities, in health care organization through workshops and conflict resolution. The Center closed in 2011 and Steve began a consulting on human rights issues. For the next 5 years much of his work was in Europe, developing and implementing training curricular for police, working in communities to reduce the risk of hate crimes, conflict resolution between police and youth. He has worked in over 20 countries. In late 2016 he began to work more in Maine, with a focus on reducing anti-immigrant bias. He continues to work in schools to reduce bias and harassment. Wessler teaches courses on human rights issues at the College of the Atlantic, the University of Maine at Augusta and at the School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University in northern Virginia.