Farmworkers movement leads to collaboration and change

World Cultures Program kicks off with the first of eleven events of the semester

América Martínez

América Martínez presented about her family’s story at the Farm Workers Movement event on Sept. 9. Zoom screenshot

Marlena Harvey, Editor-in-Chief

América Martínez credits the women who raised her for the tenacity and strength that made her who she is. 

“The reason I am here today is because of (them),” Martínez said. 

Now a San Diego City College professor of Chicano, Chicana, and ChicanX Studies, her mother and grandmother were farmworkers who immigrated from Mexico. 

Martínez, like all of the speakers at the Farm Workers Movement event on Sept. 9, shared the story that led her to be so invested in collaborative grassroots work between different groups and cultures. 

America’s mother worked tirelessly cleaning houses, watching children of wealthy families and caring for the elderly. 

“I saw how they were exploited both mentally and physically … and seeing how communities were being treated as if they were disposable and ignited a commitment to radical change,” Martínez said. 

The World Cultures Program kicked off the semester with the first of 11 Zoom events on Sept 9. 

Director of the SUBIR Cultural Center Adan Sanchez convened educators, guest speakers and students to share personal experiences and opinions on the inequality and unequal representation of cultures in the San Diego Community College District.

The collaborative efforts of ChicanX, FilipinX and women’s groups in relation to the farmworkers movement were highlighted. 

Myleen Abuan, the daughter of Filipino immigrants, helped Asian and Pacific Islander communities get equal access to healthcare and other benefits. 

Abuan currently works at the County of San Diego as a health information specialist specifically in the HIV/STD/Hepatitis branch. 

“Public health is my passion, and there are a lot of inequities there, especially in communities of color,” Abuan said. 

Mark Leo, who works at the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Labor 221, said being a native Filipino affected his job. 

“I have been involved in the community for a very long time,” Leo said.

The event highlighted grassroots work done for the farmworkers movement by communities in the area, and how community members can continue to help communication and collaboration through discussion and action. 

The World Cultures Program’s goal is to bring different cultures together through literature, art, drama, expert speakers and film. It aims to highlight needs of the campus community and encourage discussion between different groups of people. 

All WCP events are open to the public unless otherwise stated, and requests for disability-related accommodations can be made by emailing the coordinators listed on the World Cultures Website here. 

The next WCP event will be held on Oct. 4 and will be an American Sign Language Poetry Slam. This can be accessed here.

For a list of full events hosted by the World Cultures program at City College, please click here.

The recording for the Farm Workers event can be found here.