Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Hard Work, Tough Lessons
Los Angeles Business Journal
OP-ED: UC scholar credits the work life of his day laborer father with inspiring him to pursue higher education.

By Alvaro Huerta
Monday, November 1, 2010

In light of the rampant xenophobia in this country, I reflect on the lessons that I learned as a tween day laborer many years ago. Working alongside Latino immigrant men during a hot summer in Malibu, I learned firsthand the trials and tribulations of manual labor. This grueling experience became the impetus for my academic trajectory, scholarship and lifelong commitment to social justice.

While most of my childhood friends played basketball at East L.A.’s Ramona Gardens housing project, my brother Salomon – now an acclaimed L.A.-based artist – and I performed landscaping duties as day laborers for the wealthy in the seaside city.

When it came down to manual labor, as a 13-year-old, I represented the typical U.S.-born kid who avoided physical work like the plague. I can still hear the voice of my late mother, Carmen, telling me to clean my room and make my bed. Miraculously, she kept our rooms tidy while toiling as a house cleaner on the Westside. A job she performed for over 40 years...link to complete article

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