As a former farm worker, Edith Saavedra was able to easily connect with the farmworker community and their struggles during her internship with the UFW (United Farm Workers) Foundation, a national organization that mobilizes farmworkers across the country to advocate for equitable policies including immigration reform, pesticide protections, heat standards, hazard pay, and other worker protections.
The recent Michigan State University graduate, with dual bachelor’s degrees in Humanities-Prelaw and Women and Gender Studies, Saavedra interned with the UFW Foundation in Michigan during her final semester at MSU. She first served as an Emergency Relief Organizer Assistant and later was hired part-time as an Immigration Outreach Assistant halfway through the semester.
As she transitioned roles, Saavedra picked up a new range of responsibilities and experiences. Some of those responsibilities included petitioning, coordinating farmworker appreciation events, building relationships with farmworkers throughout the state, and educating them on their labor rights.
“Through these relationships, I was able to collect surveys and testimonies that are useful in bringing light to the farmworker struggle,” she said. “My role also allowed me to engage with policymakers and travel to Washington, D.C., to advocate for legalization for the farmworker community.”
“I’ve learned that activism is very demanding, especially when it has to do with advocating for people’s lives. A person has to be truly passionate and selfless when doing this line of work.”
Originally from Monte Alto, Texas, Saavedra obtained her internship through the National Migrant Scholars Internship Initiative (NMSI) at Migrant Student Services at MSU. She also utilized the resources she earned as a College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) scholar.
Throughout her internship, Saavedra polished her communication skills in both English and Spanish.
“My favorite experience is having to participate in events with our partner organizations in the We Are Home coalition,” Saavedra said. “In these coalition events, I was given the opportunity to advocate and share testimonies on behalf of our farm workers.”
The internship also taught Saavedra about the trials of a career as an activist.
“I’ve learned that activism is very demanding, especially when it has to do with advocating for people’s lives,” she said. “A person has to be truly passionate and selfless when doing this line of work.”