While growing up in the Portland area, University of Oregon junior Odalis Aguilar-Aguilar, whose family is from the Mexican state of Oaxaca, attended public schools, but wasn’t taught about her home country’s culture or its shared history with the US. She wanted to know more about her own and other Latin American cultures. The omission also made her keenly aware of the voices of those who helped shape America but remain unheard.
At the UO, Aguilar-Aguilar chose to major in Latin American studies and Spanish. When history professor Julie Weise invited her to work on a research project that involved the Bracero farm worker program, Aguilar-Aguilar jumped at the chance to learn more. She especially wanted to examine a group that had been largely ignored-the wives, women, and children whose husbands, fathers, brothers, uncles, and cousins went north seeking better-paying work on US farms, fields, and ranches.