I never thought I would be where I am today. However, growing up rural influenced my future and unknowingly that rural life has influenced yours too! Read on to learn why immigrants are essential and how you can help.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post in partnership with MomsRising. All opinions are my own.
Growing Up Rural
When I was 8 years old, we moved from living inside this little town’s city limits, to the big ol’ country right outside of town. I went from sidewalks and fences to fields and dirt roads. The majority of my childhood was spent growing up rural and it is part of what shaped me as a person. With the move, came a transfer of schools, new friends, new experiences and so much more.
The town I grew up in was a large farming community. It was surrounded by generations of hardworking farms, that our state relied on, and I was lucky enough to live just down the street! I loved the spring and summer months, as the farmers and migrant workers would put in long hours to make the perfect rows of cabbage, chilis, corn, asparagus, peas and so much more. I would eagerly watch the signs at the farmer’s markets to see what veggies and fruit were available and would beg my mom to drive down the road to get me all the fresh produce I could handle and I am not kidding, I once ate an entire head of cauliflower in about 20 minutes.
I went to school with many of the farmer’s children, but one of the girls and I became good friends. I would ride my bike down to her house which was right next to their market, and we would frolic through the produce market helping customers, sneaking a snack and laughing like crazy. I remember going into the back area of the market and watching how hard the migrant workers were working to ensure that only the best produce hit the sales floor and asking a lot of questions. I learned a lot of lessons during those months about grit, quality work, pride and honesty from my friend and the migrant workers.
Influencing My Future
I always knew that I wanted to be a mother. I wanted to have a job too, but one that would work with me and allow me to be with my kids at least part time. Leaving high school, I was sure that job was going to be in dental hygiene. After 3 years of schooling, interning and getting into dental school, I quickly realized that I was not vested in dentistry for the rest of my life.
After a series of events and conversations with some of the most influential people in my life at the time, I decided that I was meant to be a teacher. I applied to the top teaching school in the state and was accepted immediately. About a week after my acceptance, I received a phone call from the sweetest lady I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. She told me that she would like me to consider becoming a part of her program on campus, there was a scholarship and it would only take about a semester more of my time.
The program was called “Cumbres” and it was a supplemental teacher preparation program for future educators interested in working with English Language Learners. I had grown up with people who were learning English my entire life as my little town was a second home to many migrant families. Those workers and their children had been in school with me, had taught me lessons at the markets and I was for sure interested in learning how I could better serve this population. 2.5 years later, I graduated with my BS in Biology a minor in secondary education and a linguistically diverse teaching certification, more than that, I learned so much about culture, laws, people and hardships that I would never personally experience, but that my future students would being scrutinized about.
Immigrants are Essential
Growing up in a farming community, with the migrant workers and their children and then working in classrooms with them as well, I have learned so much about immigration, and how much we depend on immigrants. We are a nation built on immigration and the contribution that immigrants make to the economy and our society are indispensable.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made this even more clear as essential workers and businesses were at the forefront of our nation. From healthcare to agriculture, Americans, regardless of where we were born, have been standing shoulder to shoulder during this crisis and immigrants are putting their lives on the line to keep our healthcare system and economy going. They are essential to America’s recovery.
Did you know:
- 70% of farmworkers and 40% of food packers are immigrants. They are putting their lives on the line to keep our economy going. Let’s make sure they’re included in the next COVID relief legislation.
- 1 in 6 nurses and 1 in 4 physicians are immigrants. They are putting their lives on the line daily.
- Many low wage workers have no economic choice other than to return to work and feel trapped while fearing for their lives. It’s up to us to make sure they are protected.
- In Colorado specifically, immigrants comprise 23% of transportation and warehousing workers and 23.5% of all food sector workers. In total they make up 12.9% of all essential workers in our state!
Sign the Petition
Immigrants are putting their lives on the line right along with native born American’s to help our economy and healthcare system. I hope that you will take a look at this petition, consider the importance of our immigrant populations and support the actions listed on the petition by signing now. Need more convincing, watch the video below: