Equity & Diversity

Social Ascension in a Farmworker Family

By Mary Ann Zehr — August 13, 2009 1 min read
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A series of videos and stories about the children of immigrants in California doesn’t talk only about how poverty and a lack of English proficiency can be barriers for children of immigrants to succeed in school. The series, produced by News21 at the University of Southern California, also tells about how the children of some farmworkers are extremely motivated to do well in school and have become professionals. Partly, they are motivated to perform well in school because they’ve witnessed the harsh reality of their parents’ lives.

That’s the case with the Rodarte family in Delano, Calif., the same city where Latino civil rights activist Cesar Chavez lived. The seven children of the farmworker couple took education seriously and became professionals.

One of them, Delta Duran Rodarte, talks about how she believes that seeing farmworkers mistreated in the fields caused her to strive to have other options. “It was the treatment you received out there,... the disrespect,” she says, that convinced her that she didn’t want to be a farmworker, as her parents were.

The story of the Rodarte family is told by reporter Emily Henry. News21 is a reporting project financed by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation as part of a national initiative to “adapt journalism education to the challenges of a struggling news industry.”

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.