I was born and raised in Rock Island, Illinois, and graduated from Rock Island High School in 1961 and later the University of Iowa in Iowa City. After leaving Iowa, I entered the Peace Corps in 1966 and went to Chuuk state, in the Federated States of Micronesia. I have lived and worked here, raised my family and still live in Chuuk.
We operate an elementary charter-type school called Akoyikoyi School in Chuuk. Most children are from families that live well below the poverty line.
FSM citizens may freely migrate to the U.S. to live and work. During my more than 50 years in Micronesia, I have seen many changes, and I have watched as Micronesians migrate to find jobs, educate their children, and receive medical attention, some just seeking a different way of life.
My children are Micronesian citizens. Years ago after my son graduated from the College of the Holy Cross, he worked in Honolulu, Hawaii. At that time, because he was from Chuuk and Micronesia, he experienced discrimination. Why? Because he is a Micronesian.
Now it appears that a company in Sioux City, Iowa, may have been discriminating against Micronesians who have gone there to work. If true, Iowa should be ashamed that people who come to their state seeking an opportunity have been treated poorly. Some of the workers have allegedly they've been subjected to: taking of their passports; yelling; threatening; and possibly other abuse.
Postville, a book written some time ago, describes the exploitation of workers by an Iowa meat processing plant. Now, it appears the exploitation of workers may be taking place once again in Iowa, this time Sioux City.
I ask that "PostGuam" investigate this matter thoroughly and, if such reported abuse is true, support Micronesians - as it is their right according to the United States-FSM Compact of Free Association - to work and live with dignity.
Clark Graham is a graduate of the University of Iowa who entered the Peace Corps in 1966. He has worked and live in the FSM state with his family since that time.