Jose sat staring into the campfire reflecting on the events that lead him here and the stories he had heard tonight. Once the bus left Carson, Tech Leader 19 told them that their march to Sacremento would begin in Kern County along the river and not far from the Raceway. The trip out of LA began like a grand adventure with everyone getting to know one another, but when things got serious and Tech Leader 19 refused to answer any more questions the mood turned sour.
When they passed the Kern Raceway, buses could be seen dropping off passengers at a large camp along the river. It looked like the military was in charge, but other groups like the Red Cross had a presence. There were large tents everywhere and lots of cooking going on. The first thing they did after exiting the bus was to be assigned a tent for the entire bus and then shown where they could get some food.
After the sun set, guards went through the camp lighting fires and as the temperature dropped and everyone gathered round, sharing stories. The topic of conversation soon turned to everyone’s reason for the march. Jose was one of the first to share and held nothing back about his feelings on the President’s immigration policies. He’d lived here all his life, this was his country and he was willing to fight for it.
April’s story was shared by a handful of people from their group. Years of college in computer science and programming, a huge debt in student loans and she’d just wrapped up her second job where she trained her cheaper replacements from India and Pakistan on h1b visas. Her story surprised Jose, he’d never even heard of an h1b visa and couldn’t believe people were being forced to train cheaper replacements in order to get a good reference.
A few of the group were undocumented immigrants like Jose, but the majority were just regular people with no options. A good section of the group had degrees in what were supposed to be high demand jobs, but all the work was being contracted overseas. Another smaller section had advanced degrees in obscure useless fields and were living off of service jobs that didn’t pay a living wage. The one common thread was they were all under thirty, out of work and living by the skin of their teeth or off their parents.
Thanks for reading, Join me next week for Part Six.
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