My name is Marisol and I have been a Janitor for 13 years. I overheard my son tell one of his friends “My mom is a warrior and she is my best friend” and I realized how proud of me my children were.
“I am from Embarcadero, Guerrero in Mexico. I came to the US 14 years ago because I was a single mother with two children and I wasn’t making enough money to provide for them. My son was 12 years old and my daughter was only 5 years old when we came to this country. I had to work two jobs to provide for them. I worked in childcare from 5:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. I would go home to feed my children a meal before going to work as a janitor from 4:00 p.m. to 12:30a.m.
“It was difficult working two jobs and not seeing my children. Time goes by so fast and I couldn’t spend time with them or enjoy their company because I needed to work. Even working two jobs I only made enough money to pay the rent, buy food, and pay for the necessities.
“I was so proud of my daughter when she was accepted to the University of California at Santa Barbara. She was very excited and kept showing me the brochures of the school and pictures of where she would be studying and living. Unfortunately, we could not afford for her to attend UCSB, and ultimately she wasn’t able to go. I felt terrible seeing her cry because we couldn’t afford to send her to the university that she wanted to attend. I suffered from depression because I felt I couldn’t provide for my children.
“My daughter is now 19. She applied for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (known as DACA) and now has a license and a job. She is going to school at San Diego State University and has a job where she helps other young people apply for DACA. I feel less stressed about finances because both my son and daughter can now help me pay the bills.
“My dream is to someday be documented so that I could return to Mexico and visit my family. It broke my heart when my brother became ill and passed away and I couldn’t be with him.
“I am very active in my union because I know that is the only way to defend ourselves and to stand up for our rights. We need to be united in the struggle. Not just workers but community members too. I sacrificed my kids’ childhood so I could work and they could have a better future. Now we continue to sacrifice and remain strong in our struggle for justice in our workplace and community because we are shaping the future for our children.”
Story courtesy of the Interfaith Council for Worker Justice of San Diego.