SAN JOSE, Calif.—Decades after civil-rights leader Cesar Chavez began fighting for farmworkers here in Mayfair, Latino immigrants still struggle to achieve the American Dream.
Cesar Chavez Elementary School is among the lowest-performing schools in California. In 2012, one of every three children there could not read by the third grade. It’s the only elementary school in the working-class neighborhood of Mayfair, where Mexican farmworkers settled long before the Silicon Valley tech boom. Today, the community is home to landscapers, restaurant workers, and house-cleaners.
Parents are starting to see early-childhood literacy as the way to break the cycle of poverty in their neighborhood. Somos Mayfair, a nonprofit community organization, has trained about two dozen residents to be neighborhood “promotores,” knocking on doors and encouraging parents to fill in where the public school system doesn’t. This month, those parents organized the neighborhood’s first reading circles—one at a local park and another in someone’s driveway. The campaign is called En Nuestras Manos (In Our Hands).
Most children in Mayfair speak English as a second language and don’t have access to a library, so it’s important to make sure they don’t start kindergarten behind everyone else, says Camille Llanes-Fontanilla, executive director of Somos Mayfair.
“We are trying to create an alternative space that our current public education system is not addressing,” she says. “Which is why we call this En Nuestras Manos, because it’s in our hands as a community.”
National Journal recently visited Silicon Valley to see how immigration and technology have transformed the San Jose area. In the coming weeks, Next America will publish a series of stories about the people who are finding their place in America’s wealthiest region.
What We're Following See More »
The Senate bill "would increase the number of people without health insurance by 22 million by 2026, a figure that is only slightly lower than the 23 million more uninsured that the House version would create. Next year, 15 million more people would be uninsured compared with current law...The legislation would decrease federal deficits by a total of $321 billion over a decade."
"Ending one the most turbulent tenures of a Washington-based ambassador in recent memory, the Kremlin has decided to recall Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak, three individuals familiar with the decision told BuzzFeed News. The decision to bring Kislyak back to Russia rather than appoint him to a senior position at the United Nations in New York, as several outlets previously reported, comes amid investigations by the FBI and Congress into the 66-year-old diplomat’s contacts with President Donald Trump’s top aides during the 2016 presidential campaign."
"One month before Election Day, Jared Kushner’s real estate company finalized a $285 million loan as part of a refinancing package for its property near Times Square in Manhattan. The loan came at a critical moment. Kushner was playing a key role in the presidential campaign of his father-in-law, Donald Trump. The lender, Deutsche Bank, was negotiating to settle a federal mortgage fraud case and charges from New York state regulators that it aided a possible Russian money-laundering scheme."