I know I’ve lived in a bubble – especially during the pandemic – these last few years. Around me people are questioning what it will take to reintroduce themselves into the larger society. Some of us have experienced tremendous loss personally while others have managed to be safe in our little bubbles. The less we’ve had to go out of our bubbles, the less affected we might have been due to the major stressors that are affecting our neighbors, such as housing and the economy.
I was jolted out of my bubble by the loss of farmworker lives in Half Moon Bay after yet another mass shooting. Seeing the photographs of where the farmworkers lived hit me straight in the gut. Conditions did not appear to have changed from the 1970’s when I taught in a migrant labor camp for the California Mini-Corps in the San Joaquin Valley.
I returned to Merced and Planada to talk with some of the women I had met through Lideres Campesinas, a statewide organization of farmworker women. It was through our connection to Mily Trevino-Sauceda, Lideres Campesinas’ Co-Founder and Mihistoria Advisor, that we began to gather the stories of farmworker women that grace our page below. Mily has been pivotal in organizing farmworker women, first through Lideres Campesinas and then with the Alianza Nacional de Campesinas.
Merced and Planada were hard-hit by winter storms as were many areas of the state of California. Farmworker women are not only having to contend with the perils of pesticides, sexual harassment, and the need for immigration reform, but also deplorable working and living conditions. They are food insecure despite being the ones harvesting our fruits and vegetables. Fresh food is in short supply in farmworker communities impacted by our severe winter storms. The compañera that I was able to speak with most said being able to tell her story through MiHistoria gave her confidence to continue speaking out about the injustices around her.