Faith in the Valley: Unearthing Silenced Voices from the Land (Central Valley)
The Central Valley is home to a multi-billion dollar agriculture industry and the hard-working field workers that make it such a successful industry. How can this region that greatly contributes to the United State’s economy and produces more than 25% of our nation’s food have some of the poorest counties in America? The Central Valley continues to suffer under systematic barriers: issues like environmental racism, low-wage jobs, food deserts, poverty, mass incarceration, pesticides, and health inequities to name a few. Imagine not being able to drink from your school’s water fountain because all the nitrates in it are hazardously toxic or being careful not to swallow the water from your faucet when you brush your teeth. This reality has become an issue of life and death in the Central Valley. Water is a basic human right, yet over 1 million Californians don’t have access to safe drinking water which heavily prevails to haunt the Central Valley. Despite the systemic injustices found in California’s Central Valley, this course will often revisit the theme of social change of individuals and groups that are challenging the status quo. By raising critical questions, examining the root causes, understanding the intersectionality of issues, and being culturally aware, participants will be able to build a bridge of solidarity with the Central Valley community.
Break Leader BiosSusan Lucas
Hello! My name is Susan Lucas. I am a second year planning to major in Economics and minor in Global Poverty and Practice. I am very excited to be co-leading Faith in the Valley: Unearthing Silenced Voices from the Land this Spring. Last year as a participant, Alternative Breaks was eye-opening and transformative. From Pixley to Kettleman City, we learned about the issues facing these communities but we also met with amazing community organizers, advocates and allies. For me, Alternative Breaks is a powerful example of how even a week of exposure to communities such as the Central Valley can remind us of our responsibility to be in solidarity with individuals often ignored. I do not take this responsibility lightly. Moving forward, I see being a break leader is a powerful way to help ensure the stories of these communities are repeated to others.Fátima Casas
Hola, hola! My name is Fátima (she/they), I’m from San Bernardino starting my 2nd year at Cal striving for a double major in Political Science and Ethnic Studies. This year I have the privilege to co-lead, Faith in the Valley: Unearthing Silenced Voices from the Land. Leading this trip comes from a warm heart of solidarity for a vulnerable community in the Central Valley of low-income, POC migrant workers threatened by political corruption. My experience as a participant as I drove through highway 5 was like I was traveling back in time. I could imagine my Papi’s, and his Papás’s, and his Abuelito’s hands tending the very land that brought fruitful food onto American’s dinner tables, while ironically struggling to feed their own families back in México. This year I plan to navigate spaces of power and privilege, in hopes of bringing to light the struggles in the Central Valley. So… come travel down the heart of California with me, and discover the systematic injustices in the Valley that have been silenced for too long.