I see you, value you
I remember driving with my mom in our blue Impala down a dirt road toward the migrant camps in the early 1970s. During this time, Mercer County was rich in tomato fields, and the Ft. Recovery canning factory was clanking with cans of all types of stewed tomatoes. There were several migrant camps here in Mercer, Darke, and Auglaize Counties to house the fieldworkers and their families. These groups of little white wooden houses usually held families of six or more, and a larger block building had community showers for all of them. My mom worked at the Coldwater hospital as a translator for a clinic just outside the main building. Here, migrant workers came for health services for themselves and their children. There was no one yelling about papers and illegals at this time. They worked like everyone else, trying to make a living for their families and keeping the farmers in business.
When we pulled up, and the dust settled, the familiar squeak sounded as the doors opened and shut. My mom would come out yelling in Spanish for all to gather to hear about the services offered by the clinic. People, mainly women, would gather with their children hanging on their dresses and aprons. Their brown eyes looked at us curiously, and their brown skin glistened in the hot summer sun. But the curiosity was mine too. As my mom spoke about the clinic, I remember looking at those returning brown eyes. I thought someone like me, someone like us, was standing in front of us. They are the same but different. They are perhaps looking at me, thinking the same thoughts.
While canvassing for my campaign Saturday, that memory came flooding back when I stopped at a resident’s home yesterday and engaged with them. They said no one stops at our home; no one sees people like us.
I paused. To every citizen in District 84 who feels as though no one sees you, I see you. If you feel as though you are not valued, you are valued and are as important to your community as everyone else to me. You work for your families, worry about their safety and health, and wonder what your future will be like. You pay your bills, celebrate, and grieve like everyone else. Sometimes, you give what little you have to help others in need without question.
These are the reasons I am running. I run for people like you, people like us. Now, it’s time to put the US back in ColumbUS.