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I was born and raised in St. Helena. My father came to the states through the Bracero Act. My mother was born in Arlington, California. Her grandparents walked from Mazatlan, Mexico to California. In addition my mother is part Native American. As most Mexicans back then, my parents followed the crops which brought them to the Napa Valley. They settled in this world famous wine growing region long before the wine industry became an industry. In 1948 when my parents arrived in the valley, there were only two wineries. It was understood manual labor was how the wine industry would survive. Today, the humble people who take pride in earning a living picking grapes, are no longer wanted.
 
No job was beneath them. What was most important was the pride in being able to put food on the table and survive. My parents taught us those values. A strong work ethic, religion, and respect for others. With my mothers Native American heritage, this land was taken from them by immigrants. The very ones who claim we are taking their jobs; whose ancestors came to this country for better lives. Aren’t they immigrants? Are we really taking American jobs? I didn’t realize so many Americans were striving to become “day laborers”. I am very proud of my parents and their achievements. They sacrificed and gave me and my brothers a good life.

Share Your California Dream.

Learn more about Antonio Villaraigosa and how to join his campaign to give voice to all Californians here.

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