By Joanna Olguin, 2021 SAF Into the Fields Intern at the Legal Aid of North Carolina Farmworker Unit
“I am halfway through my internship, and I have experienced everything.
I witnessed injustice upon listening to the stories of my fellow farmworkers. I witnessed grace upon hearing attorneys confidently stand up for farmworkers. I witnessed courage when I saw farmworkers and paisanos reach out for help.
Everything that I witnessed brought forth a cornucopia of lessons. We are all here for one thing: to uplift the voices of the farmworkers. Before I came into this internship, I thought I knew everything. I was wrong. There is still so much to learn, still so much to unlearn, still so much to see.
Hearing my mother open up about the injustices that she experienced in the fields herself, I felt like a tiny star in the massive universe. It was me versus a powerful system. I felt small and alone. I wanted to help farmworkers and uplift their voices, but I did not know how.
Though there is a lot left to do, I am hopeful now. I no longer feel small, as my time here has taught me that I am a part of a community that is striving for the same thing. Como una estrella, I am a part of a system. I am not alone. Every star is different, but it does not make them unimportant. We are all stars, and we each have the power to create change. One of my goals for this internship was to observe everything around me and learn how to create change within my own community. I look forward to putting what I have learned to work. Somos estrellas, and we will inspire change.”