As an undergrad student studying Ethnic Studies, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of such a special project that highlighted the history of Latinos in Oregon. It has been an amazing experience learning about Oregon’s history and connecting with Izza Porter who emigrated with her family from Monterrey to Oregon. I’m excited to use the skills that I learned while making this documentary later in my life.
The interview with Gerardo Herrera Garcia explores the topic of baseball and education when he moved from CulÃacan, Sinaloa, Mexico to Medford, Oregon. Gerardo accredits his accomplishment to learning English in eight months to the fact that he joined the baseball team at North Medford High School, and he was forced to learn at a quick rate. He now resides in Eugene, Oregon and has a baseball scholarship to Lane Community College.
Yadira Janet Mendoza tells her story of growing up in Chiapas, Mexico as a child migrant worker. Having come from a family of farm workers who moved from one temporary job to another, Janet was only able to attend school for two hours after an eight hour day of working out in the fields. As she grew older, little opportunity existed for her with only having a third grade education level. At the age of 18, Janet moved to Albany, Oregon in pursuit of a new life. This transition led to new job opportunities cleaning houses and to meeting her husband, Oscar. Her reputation as a great cleaner grew quickly and she started her own business, MOJY, which she named after the initials of her family members. Now having three employees, Janet's dream is to return to school to study finance or administration and learn English. Her life shows of her hard dedication to survive and support her family.
My documentary is based upon the life and experiences of Gabriel Sanchez. Currently, (in 2013) Gabriel is an undergraduate student at the University of Oregon studying archaeology and anthropology. He is interested in indigenous archaeology, or the incorporation of indigenous forms of knowledge within the archaeological context. Gabriel's current research project is with the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. I am grateful for the opportunity to be involved in this project and to work with Gabriel to share his story
Rosa Camarena is a sophomore at the University of Oregon majoring in Spanish and possibly Latino Studies. When Rosa was just one year old her parents immigrated with her to Oregon. Rosa has struggled with language and stereotypes as she has moved through the school system. She chose her major because she wants to give back to her community in Woodburn and raise a family there.
Jill Torres is the subject of this Latino Roots project. She is a kindergarten teacher, MEChA leader, Spanish radio show host, and activist in Eugene's Latino community. Her life has been a question of identity, as her mother is a mix of white European ancestry while her father has a mixed Croatian and Mexican background. In high school, her teacher Armando Morales inspired her to join MEChA and be proud of her Chicana identity. Since then, a dialogue has opened between her and her father, allowing her to dig deeper into her family's history and learn more about what it means to be Latino.