Who Are We?
The Indigenous Migrant Community that MICOP works with comes primarily from southern Mexico, including the states of Oaxaca, Guerrero, Michoacán, and Puebla.
Twenty thousand indigenous migrants live and work in Ventura County. Another 25,000 live and work in Santa Barbara County.
Soil erosion of the ancestral farmlands of the Mixteca region and economic opportunity here have drawn Mixtecs to California in search of agricultural work. Mixtecs have been a vital part of the Ventura County's economic success since the 1970's.
Concentrated in labor-intensive agricultural sectors such as row crops (strawberries and raspberries) and cut flowers, Mixtecs perform an increasing amount of the backbreaking labor which makes farming profitable and fresh fruits and vegetables available to the public.
My name is Jose Mendoza, I am 16 years old.
I was 13 years old when I started working the field by helping my family.
Didn't know much about being poor or how hard it is to be indigenous.
I was moving to Salinas because of the seasons of the crops, and that's when my parents started saying that “You have to stay at school so you don't have to work like us, struggling.”
I don't want to see any of them work in the field.
Looking for your roots, you can discover more talents that you have that can change life of people.
I want to create awareness for my community through my art.
I want to study Natural Resources System, then go to Master degree in Art.
I want to have like a secret in the drawing that have a lot of significance.
Emotions, feelings about the past, or even the future, or inspire people to become a better person.
An Isolated Community
Mixtecs in Ventura County-and throughout the state-are culturally and linguistically isolated. MICOP - the Mixteco/Indigena Community Organizing Project is working to aid Mixtecs to draw on their community strengths and overcome existing barriers along California's Central Coast.
The communal tradition of “tequio” or community obligation promotes a spirit of mutual assistance and community building. Our celebrations of cultural traditions such as Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), Día del Niño (Children’s Day), Guelaguetza (regional dance festival celebrating all indigenous groups), and Fiesta Navideña (Christmas) build community strength and pride, and add to the richness and diversity of Ventura County life.