Mixteco Project in Oxnard | 30 Days, 30 Clinicians
[Editor’s Note: Happy Birthday, Migrant Clinicians Network! To celebrate our 30th anniversary this month, we are highlighting one clinician each day who has been honored in 30 Clinicians Making a Difference, in which we profile the work of 30 diverse migrant clinicians from across the country and abroad.]
In Oxnard, California, big berry farms recently tested out a 14-arm mechanical strawberry picker, which the inventor claims is necessary because, according to the Wall Street Journal article, berry pickers are “in short supply” in recent years, as a result of greater opportunity in Mexico and tightened border control. Sandra Young, FNP, questions the article’s assertions about her community’s berry pickers. “There is no shortage of workers, period,” Young contends. “Companies which offer decent benefit and wage packages will attract workers, even given seasonal variations. In Oxnard, large numbers of farmworkers travel, sometimes leaving their families, for months out of the year to follow crops in the north. Most farmworkers have no other employment skills, so farmwork is really the only alternative for them. In Oxnard, where working conditions are relatively good compared to other places, there are always workers looking for work.”
Young, one of our 30 Clinicians Making a Difference, has worked with Oxnard berry pickers for several decades. She is the founder and Board President of the Mixteco/Indígena Organizing Community Project (MICOP), which works to support and empower indigenous Mexican workers in the Oxnard area. (You can read her complete story in her full profile.) For indigenous workers in Oxnard, Young believes returning to Mexico for increased job opportunities, as the article asserts, is not the reality for indigenous populations originally from Oaxaca and Guerrero. “There are no employment opportunities in these areas, and moving to pick crops in semi-slavery conditions in San Quintin, in Baja California, does not strike me as exactly an ‘opportunity,’” she said. Read more about Young’s work with MICOP and in her community as a Family Nurse Practitioner in her complete profile.
Help us honor the work of Sandra Young by sharing her profile. And, make sure to check out the profiles of all 30 clinicians at the 30 Clinicians Making a Difference webpage.
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