I Could See Myself In Them | Podía verme en ellos

Dissertation by Julie Wilson, 1993 SAF alumni

In the pages that follow, you will read excerpts from accounts of college students who interned with SAF between 1995 and 2005. These excerpts come from documentary projects that interns completed with farmworkers about folklife traditions, and from weekly journals that interns wrote and turned in to the internship coordinator. I read all of this written work as part of a dissertation study I completed with SAF as a graduate student in UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Education.

I studied the students’ work in order to understand what they felt as they allied themselves with farmworkers who were trying to secure basic, yet amazingly tenuous, human rights: safe working conditions, livable homes, basic health care, and a meaningful education. I wanted to understand what pushed students to keep going when obstacles to justice loomed large. I wondered whether writing helped them persevere, providing them a forum to commemorate successes and comprehend failures.

I share students’ testimonies to help us as readers make greater sense of our own efforts to respond to injustice in our work and daily lives.