Virginia Camberos, Unite Oregon Southern Oregon Regional Director
Who would have guessed that the first Latinx Woman to become Regional Director in Southern Oregon for a racial justice organization was working in Corporate America for 20 years. I never realized how blinded I had become of the injustices of workers and how the system stripped them of their rights.
When you grow up in the Projects of East Los Angeles, we are told that we need to take corporate jobs to get out of poverty or “make it” in this country. I never felt like anything was missing in my home growing up, I was raised by two very strong willed Mexican women, my abuela María and my tia Carmen. Their teachings made me who I am today, a strong, hard worker, and someone who stands up for herself. Maybe that’s why I was able to survive in Corporate America for so long. I was a tough one.
Their teachings made me who I am today, a strong, hard worker, and someone who stands up for herself.
As time passed, my journey took me to Talent, Oregon in July of 2002. I was looking for a slower paced environment to raise my three active sons. When I had arrived, I felt like Talent was a Hallmark picture perfect place, only to find out that something dark was hidden. I remember walking up one sunny morning, I looked outside and on my lawn there was a white sheet that read “Wetbacks must be bled like rodents, -White Supreme forever. ” I was shocked. I was scared. I had never experienced something like this back home. My first instinct was to pack my bags and go back home to California but deep down I knew that this was no coincidence, this ugly message on my lawn was a call, and since then I have been an activist and a community organizer for the past 15 years in Jackson County. My decision to not run away, put me in my life’s work and I found my voice in La Lucha for Justice (The fight for justice). I am proud to be the Regional Director of Unite Oregon and as I work with younger women, I look forward to mentoring and passing along the torch so that they can continue the fight for a better world where we can all be part of. I thank all the strong women who came before me who have prepared me.
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