The Modesto Girls are a Family Miracle

How Five Sisters (and Their Brothers) Survived Childhood and Stuck Together in Stanislaus County

California changes too fast. The new so quickly replaces the old. People come and go with a blur. I often feel like you can’t count on anything staying here anymore.

But you can count on the Modesto Girls.

These five sisters—my first cousins, once removed—have never had glamorous jobs. They didn’t get fancy educations. Little in life has come easy to them.

You may opt out or contact us anytime.

But they are always there when there’s work to be done, when my mom’s side of the family is in need, or just …

If You Want Strawberry Fields Forever, You Need Migrant Labor

A Year-Round Supply of Low-Priced Food Demands Seasonal Workers Free to Cross Borders

Two hundred years ago this year, British economist David Ricardo published his monumental work “On The Principles of Political Economy and Taxation.” In it he outlined a theory of international …

La La Land’s Debt to Ethnic Musicals of Yore

Its “Burst-Into-Song” Style Echoes the Intimacy of Early Black, Mexican, and Jewish Productions

“Without a nickel to my name/ Hopped a bus/ Here I came …” So sings a young woman at the start of La La Land, the original musical film by …

Chasing Holocaust Ghosts Down Route 66

Coping with Survival, My Father Took the Family for the Ride of Our Lives on America’s Mother Road

When I was 9 my father, Jacob, uprooted me from my magical boyhood in Detroit to chase ghosts down historic Route 66. We were bound for L.A.

Like Dust Bowl Okies, …

When Immigration Isn’t a One-Way Street

My Great-Grandfather Came to California from China to Work on the Railroads, and Our Family Has Gone Back and Forth Ever Since

When my great-grandfather made his way from China to the United States in the 1920s, I doubt he ever imagined his grandchildren and great-grandchildren would make their way back. California …