America ReFramed

Como Vivimos (How We Live)

Season 12  Episode 6


In California’s Central Valley, Mexican-American youth living in farmworker family housing are missing at least three months of school each year due to an annual, state-mandated displacement. COMO VIVIMOS (HOW WE LIVE) spends a year following the rhythms, resilience, and aspirations of such students and their families.

California’s migrant family housing centers are one of few affordable housing options available to farmworking families. But these housing centers are only available for residence during the several months of the growing season. Come winter, families are required to completely vacate their homes and move at least 50 miles away for at least three months. Unable to afford market rates, many families pull their children from school and move out of state or to Mexico for the off-season, interrupting children’s schooling until families can return to live in the centers in the spring.

Many of the residents in these centers are California-born, many the grandchildren of Bracero farmworkers. Yet, despite decades of contributions to California’s culture and economy, these annual cycles of moving deprive families of a complete education and the economic mobility promised by it.