This San Jose influencer uses her platform to support farm workers and undocumented immigrants

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If some of us didn’t go hard on social media, a lot of people wouldn’t know. TikTok platforms allow younger generations to listen and tell their story, and others can be more active. I’ve seen the immense difference this younger generation is getting up and making videos. It’s about educating people and spreading the message as an influencer [social media].

They advocate supporting local businesses, e.g tostadas and its sister restaurants, the Coffeeshop Con Azucar Cafe and the newly opened ones Tostadas Prime. What do you like about these restaurants?

These locations are owned by Latinos. Putting money back into our communities instead of businesses is a resource. Our churches don’t always have much of it. These places provide jobs for people and source their ingredients responsibly. Having a Latino cafe [like Con Azúcar] is important. There are thousands of Starbucks in San Jose. But you can turn the corner and keep the money in your community. These places do it responsibly and give back. For example, they support my nonprofit Celebration Nation Inc. We had several times when they let me borrow gear for my toy ride. We help each other, release our stuff, everything we need from each other. The owners have DACA like me.

Tostadas is one of my favorite places. You’ve been at this for a while. They have vegan options and it’s very cultural. The pandemic hit them, but they’re still here. Tostadas Prime]is more luxury. When people order a particular dish, a percentage goes to a non-profit organization that helps farm workers.

These restaurants employ around 200 people. Putting money back into our community is important. When we buy groceries, it usually happens at the company. It’s a shop and there are many chains. This puts a strain on our bodies and our health. They mass produce on demand and import pesticides and poison. I am committed to eating organic. It helps us and the farm workers. Large corporations benefit from us. We need to go back to how our ancestors ate, harvesting what they could and sharing it with their neighbors, keeping it local and in small amounts. If San Jose had its own food system, that would be huge.

One of Martinez Zaragoza‘s favorite restaurants, Tostadas, is owned by DACA recipient brothers Alex and Victor Garcia, depicted here in a mural. (Jordan Hayes)

You mentioned your nonprofit organization. Tell us more about it.

I started a non-profit organization [Celebration Nation] support farm workers. We have a food bank program for them. We serve approximately 10,000 employees each month in six California cities. It is run on a voluntary basis. It’s basically about bridging the gap around food insecurity with farm workers. There is no reason why those who feed us should be hungry. They are the nation’s lowest paid workers. their families are suffering. [They usually get served] Foods that are deficient in nutrients, leading to health problems in the future.

We serve multiple languages ​​including Triqui and Mixtec. We have translators to avoid language barriers to access food banks. There are many reasons why farm workers are excluded from support. Working in this area helps me gain confidence and know what is going on. I went viral in 2020 during the fires, smoke, heatwaves and pandemic. I expressed my frustration during the terms, and I told people to pick their own vegetables. I used to be a laborer so I have insight into the details.

Our next project is to create an educational program accessible via Web.3 and we will use blockchain technology to educate marginalized youth.

you currently have DACA. How has that affected your life?

It honestly helped me a lot. It allowed me to get a driver’s license and social security number. It protected me from deportation. So I can start my day more relaxed. I have to renew it every two years. To have [Social Security] literally allows me to do business, apply for credit, apply for government grants. During the pandemic, my event company was able to get a government grant because of my social behavior. Also, unlike many undocumented farm workers, I was able to get a stimulus check. It definitely changed my life, and it sucks that it’s not available to more people.

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