All of my uncles are lechugueros, lettuce pickers…

I was born and raised in Salinas California, a farm worker community.  All of my uncles are lechugueros, lettuce pickers.  At a very young age, I was very much aware of the sulfur in their boots and how they would come home and take everything off before they entered the house because there was an understanding that whatever happened in the field couldn’t go into the house, right?  In school, at recess time, there were what I now know to call dusters.  There were a lot of aircrafts spraying pesticides around the schools.  Now I know that pesticide drift must have happened on the playground.  But a lot of that knowledge didn’t hit me until I went to school.  So then I went to college.  I majored in environmental studies and geography.  I took a class in environmental justice where I learned the term EJ and also environmental racism.  I was attracted to that because I was learning the principals in school and pretty much applied it back to my home in Salinas. It was something that I knew was my passion.  I was always told go to school so I wouldn’t have to work in the fields.  Our parents crossed the border to make a better life for you.  But I’ve always wanted to give back.  Not give back in a way where it was just my own family but also the rest of the people who also were in the same situation.

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