Like Cesar Chavez, I grew up around the Mayfair community and its orchards. In San Jose, there were orchards where I worked that have been destroyed due to the growing number of high tech companies. I was not forced to go to the farms because my father obtained a job at a lumber company. However, I was forced to work at the age of 12 alongside my sisters and the farm workers’ children as an apricot cutter, at an orchard-not a farm. I would get dropped off three times a week for 4 hours at the farm processing plant. I never got paid because my mother collected our earnings to save for school clothing.
Besides school and work, we had to participate with our mother at the school meetings where Cesar Chavez would come speak often. We learned the importance of “Uvas No” and learned early on about the effects of pesticides.
Today, we remind the young people in our family of the changing times and the importance of participating in social justice issues to make our community better.