Transcript - "Different Harvests, Same Struggles: Leonor and April"

Leonor Victoria: Hello, my name is Leonor Victoria.

April Salas: Hello, my name is April Salas.

LV: So, April how did you become a part of the Migrant Education Program?

AS: I know often times migrant kids, when they’re younger they go to like a Headstart, but I was enrolled into school a little later, so I think that’s when I was identified because they brought me into school so late. They identified me like that red flag, like “oh they work in agriculture, oh they moved around.” Yep, there you go! I do remember being like pulled out of P.E. or you know extra-curricular like stuff, not like an essential class like Math or English, to take like supplemental English classes.

What was your experience with the migrant education program?

LV: Well I started my migrant education a bit late in high school. I started in my junior year. I was aware that I was a migrant student, but the school system wasn’t, and it wasn’t until I was doing really badly in high school, I was very angry at everyone and because of my life and situations that were going around home. And so, going into the Migrant Education Program it was such a support system knowing that I was around other migrant students with other families and parents who worked in an agricultural. And it was just really great knowing that I wasn’t the only one whose mother was working in the fields, whose mother didn’t speak English and only spoke Spanish.

I think it became easier, school really did become easier when I was enrolled in the Migrant Education Program. It’s a family you create with other students who are going through the same situations if not worse or less, but we’re all there to support each other as migrant students.

What would you say are your dreams? What are you trying to achieve?

AS: The ultimate goal is like to eventually be working in migrant education to make sure that migrant kids that typically are kind of left out of the loop or just like shoved into these English classes or thought of like oh well you’re not going anywhere, because I was told that “you’re not going to go anywhere. I mean you’re going to graduate high school and then that’s it” … I guess my dream is like pushing as many kids as possible to that ultimate goal, like to their own goals whether it be just graduating high school or graduating college or getting a graduate degree, just like guiding them in that direction to fulfill their own goals. And for me as long as like I impact one person’s life, that’s enough for me.

When you think about your identity and your cultural background, how would you describe yourself?

LV: So, when I think about my identity I’ve always identified myself as a woman of color, as an indigenous human being, as a brown-colored person, but I never really have put migrant student on the list. Although I think it is important to identify as a migrant student coming from a background of agricultural, coming from hard working individuals who have spent the rest of their lives bending down picking up after strawberries only to be paid so little and go through all these hard labor. I am proud to be part of this community and be part of such humbled and hardworking individuals who have picked up our fruits and vegetables, and our poultry and who do all this just because they weren’t educated or came from other countries to escape poverty and violence and crimes.

So, I would definitely now put that on my checklist as a migrant student and will say it with a proud face and stand by it. Definitely will!