Omar Ibarra, SAF Solidaridad intern
My time with SAF truly helped me see the extent to which farmworkers contribute to our communities. I was aware of farmworkers before and knew some level of the work they did, but SAF highlighted the overall movement. It has become unfathomable to me how little attention farmworkers get when they give so much to this country. SAF enabled me to further understand the issues that farmworkers face especially at the policy level where they are often purposefully ignored. I have gained many of the tools I need to speak on the injustices farmworkers face. But more importantly, I have come to understand that it is crucial to find ways to enable farmworkers to speak for themselves rather than speak for them. Even those of us in the movement must know when to step back to allow those most affected to have a turn at creating change.
My coworkers and fellow interns also helped me see that, in addition to highlighting the injustices farmworkers face, we must also remember to celebrate our farmworking communities. Farmworkers each come with their own unique stories, and it is important for us to help promote them.
Some ways that I helped impact the farmworking community were by helping to organize grassroots lobbying efforts to push for legislation that would provide farmworker protections at the federal level. With help from my supervisor, I gained insight into how to contact legislators, organize meetings, and deliver the important message.
SAF has empowered me to continue to keep grassroots and community at the forefront of my goals and in my perspective as I continue in my career. After all, it was through SAF that I discovered some of my own family members, including my grandfather, was a Bracero in his youth. Farmworkers are my family and my community, and I will continue advocating for them throughout my personal life and professional career.