Un Buen Carnicero | Photo Journal | Indy Week
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A young customer passes the time.

From the Vittles film Un Bu en Carnicero

A young customer passes the time.

Cada mañana, antes del trabajo, Tolo Martínez, alimenta a sus gallinas y se sienta al lado en una banca a pensar. La rutina se repite todos los días debajo de la sombra de los pinos tan distintos existentes en Carolina del Norte, donde escucha el ronroneo de las gallinas que gradualmente despiertan con sus cantos y cacareos. Por la tarde regresa a su casa a cenar con su esposa, Flor y tres hijos.

Con el apoyo de Southern Foodways Alliance, nosotros en Vittles Films hicimos este documental sobre Tolo, quien trabaja como carnicero en Cliff's Meat Market en Carrboro: Un Buen Carnicero.

Tiene casi lo que quiere, un trabajo estable por casi 20 años, sustento para su familia y un hogar donde alberga todos sus sueños.

Tolo Martinez of Cliff’s Meat - Market - FROM THE VITTLES FILM UN BU EN CARNICERO
  • From the Vittles film Un Bu en Carnicero
  • Tolo Martinez of Cliff’s MeatMarket

Martínez, en el papel, es una estadística y es uno de al menos de 8 millones de inmigrantes indocumentados en nuestra fuerza de trabajo. Horas antes del anuncio de Obama sobre los beneficios migratorios, Martínez me entregó un pequeño paquete de chorizo realizado por sus propias manos y me dijo que no prestó atención sobre lo que realmente sucedió, supone que una licencia de conducir temporal estaría bien por un tiempo. Pero él está cansado, dijo, con el brillo de sus ojos bajo las luces fluorescentes.

Durante casi dos décadas, Martínez y gran parte del personal, carniceros originarios de México, han sido una parte integral de nuestra cultura alimentaria local. Chefs Andrea Reusing, Bill Smith, Vimala Rajendran y Ricky Moore compran la carne cortada por los carniceros de Cliff. Al igual que los profesores universitarios y una gran mayoría de la clase trabajadora, los conocen por su nombre (o apodo) en inglés y español.

Cliff Collins, un jefe que apoya a los inmigrantes, me ha dicho que el presidente debería facilitar a los empresarios ayudar a legalizar a sus trabajadores. Sus ideas abiertas acerca de impulsar la reforma de inmigración son bien conocidas en la ciudad.

Nuestra sociedad, nuestra política y nuestros medios de comunicación demandan que los menos privilegiados presenten su existencia y justifiquen su lucha a través de algún relato. Pero la realidad de Martínez es la lucha por un derecho humano básico: una mejor vida y vivir sin miedo. Esperamos, que al exponer su historia y cotidianidad, más personas (inmigrantes y ciudadanos) expresen sus vivencias.

A butcher carries - a whole hog for a customer in - the parking lot of Cliff’s. - FROM THE VITTLES FILM UN BU EN CARNICERO
  • From the Vittles film Un Bu en Carnicero
  • A butcher carriesa whole hog for a customer inthe parking lot of Cliff’s.

Every morning before work, Tolo Martinez feeds his backyard chickens and sits on a bench to think. He begins most days this way, shaded by towering pines, the chickens gradually awakening the day with coos and clucks. By evening he's back home in time for dinner with his wife, Flor, and three children.

With support of the Southern Foodways Alliance, we at Vittles Films made a documentary about Tolo, who works as a butcher at Cliff's Meat Market in Carrboro: Un Buen Carnicero.

Martinez lives a good life. He has what he wants—a steady job for nearly 20 years, enough money to care for his family and a home.

On paper, though, Martinez is a statistic, one of at least 8 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. workforce. President Obama's new executive order to protect 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation is hardly a relief. Hours before the announcement, Martinez handed me a small sack of chorizo—his own hand-crafted contribution to the market's menu—and guessed a temporary driver's license would be O.K. for a while, but it won't last. And then? He's tired, he said, the gleam in his eyes fading under the fluorescent lights.

Cliff Collins of - Cliff’s Meat Market - FROM THE VITTLES FILM UN BU EN CARNICERO
  • From the Vittles film Un Bu en Carnicero
  • Cliff Collins ofCliff’s Meat Market

For nearly two decades, Martinez and much of the all-Mexican butcher staff have been an integral part of our local food culture. Chefs Andrea Reusing, Bill Smith, Vimala Rajendran and Ricky Moore all purchase meat cut by Cliff and los carniceros. As do university professors and working-class folks, who all know them by name (or nickname) in English and Spanish.

Cliff Collins is a supportive boss who has told me that President Obama should make it easier for employers to stand up for their workers. His outspoken ideas for immigration reform are well known in town.

Our society, our politics and our media demand that the underprivileged prove their existence and justify their struggle through an inspirational narrative. But Martinez's reality is about a basic human right to better one's life and to live safely, without fear. We hope putting his ordinary life into focus will remind people that he simply cannot.

Un Buen Carnicero from Southern Foodways on Vimeo.

  • Photo and video: Un Buen Carcinero at Cliff’s Meat Market in Carrboro

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