|Ann López , Center for Farmworker Families|
|Visit Center for Farmworker Families' website|
Center for Farmworker Families
Ann López taught for many years at a community college and was particularly proud of the environmental science course outline she created. On two occasions, her colleagues elected her “Humanitarian of the Year.”
Then one day she read a series in the local newspaper in which farmworkers were repeatedly referred to, she says, as if they were “farming implements in the farming process.” The articles brought back painful memories of her childhood growing up in a Mexican-American family in Southern California at a time when laws prevented interracial marriage.
In 1994, at age 49, López returned to college at the University of California and began interviewing farmworker families as part of her Ph.D. studies. Her research involved studying 38 farmworker families in Central California and the 22 farms they came from in the west-central Mexico countryside. “I was struck by the inordinate suffering and pain experienced by both farmers and their families in Mexico and by their relatives working in California agriculture,” she recalls.
As part of a post-doctoral program at the University of California at Berkeley, she wrote a book called The Farmworkers’ Journey that won an award from The Society for the Anthropology of North America. In 2008 she founded a nonprofit called the Center for Farmworker Families that assists binational families living in the United States and Mexico.
Representatives from the Center regularly visit farmworker families and provide computers, printers and accessories; distribute food, clothing, school supplies and solar showers; and promote awareness through Farmworker Reality Tours and Farmworker Family Christmas.
“I feel that my talks and our work as an organization are bringing peace and well-being to a seriously marginalized segment of the U.S. and planetary human population,” López says.