While most kids couldn’t wait for summer, Anabella Flores Vega dreaded it. Three AM wake-up calls, cold mornings, dewy plants, knees that ached from kneeling and long days that progressed to extreme heat – this is how Anabella came to know summers growing up as a migrant worker.
Anabella has felt the devastation of inaccessible education first hand.
Her father was orphaned at a young age and began working to survive while her mother was married off young by parents who did not believe women should be educated. Even most of Anabella’s five brothers and sisters did not finish high school but chose to work in the fields instead.
“I have taken it upon myself to be the game changer, because if I succeed, we all will.”
Anabella is pursuing a law degree with a minor in political science, turning her life experiences and what she’s learning at Chemeketa into opportunities that will benefit legions of Oregon migrant workers.
“My plan is to work as a family lawyer that deals with migrant and farmworker issues and advocate for first generation students considering attending college.”
At Chemeketa, Anabella is involved with CAMP and recently completed her CWE internship with Mexican Consulate Consul Claudia Helietta. This summer, she joins other HEP/CAMP student interns in Washington, DC with Senator Merkley’s office.
“I’m constantly being amazed working in Capitol Hill and I can definitely say my point of view on some things has changed. Becoming more informed on certain issues has made me more open minded and more accepting of others.”
While it was her parents’ struggles that inspired her path, it is their support that keeps her going.
“Each time my dad saw me studying he would lean over, kiss me on the forehead and whisper, ‘Good job, I am so proud of you’.”
And now, at nearly 3,000 miles away, Anabella appreciates the similar sense of encouragement provided by her Chemeketa family.