Yuliana Ventura, 2021 SAF intern
Farmworker Advocacy Network
When I was twelve years old, I woke up early in the morning to get ready for work. Oddly enough, it was my first job, so I was excited on my first day. However, this quickly changed as I worked rapidly all day while the sun was at its peak and I earned per each bucket of blueberries I picked.
Mi nombre es Yuliana Ventura and I am a SAF Into the Fields (ITF) intern. I come from a farmworker background with parents that have worked in the coffee bean, blueberry, and poultry industries. I myself from a very young age worked in the blueberry industry. This was normal to me; it was a norm to see people working in the agricultural world and for children to be exploited in these kinds of jobs. It did not strike me that working under the sun for over 12 hours a day was something a child should not have to endure.
I never realized that we as a community can come together to use our voices to speak for our rights; citizens or not, we’re human. That is when I encountered Student Action with Farmworkers. I am now a SAF alum who was a part of the Levante Leadership Institute made up of high school students in eastern NC. Being a part of SAF, I was able to learn more about the farmworker movement and what people across the nation were doing to support farmworkers and our rights. Not only this, but I also had many different opportunities to use my voice as a panelist, to help with research, and to spread awareness.
Now, I have decided to continue to be a part of the farmworker movement in order to help my community in as many ways as possible. If we do not use our voices to speak on these important matters, then who will? Having been a farmworker myself, I understand the hardships and disparities that farmworkers face within the agricultural system. I am excited to help local farmworkers despite the pandemic that we are still in the midst of. I know that it might be challenging at times, but I have an awesome team to back me up and help me through my process as an intern. I cannot wait to continue working with SAF and seeing the hundreds of lives that we will impact.