Photo and Video: Jeremy Raff
Rogelio Mendoza mows the front lawn outside his family’s modest home in Salinas. It’s a warm weekday evening, and his wife, Norma, is cooking dinner for their three boys.
“Carne, beans and some posole … that’s what’s we’re having today,” says Norma as she serves her oldest son, Alonso, who just came home from a long day of classes at Hartnell Community College in Salinas.
The-21-year-old is the first in the family to attend college.
Alonso says some days he feels like “his head is going to explode” with so much new information. But he admits that schoolwork is much better than farmwork.
“Having your back hurt, and your arms hurt … you can’t compare that kind of tired to having your mind stress over homework,” Alonso says.
The Mendoza family is a farmworker family.