BC hosts a webinar with guest speaker Eladio Bobadilla, “We’re Still Here”: Hope, Dignity, and the Education of the Fields

Saioa Laverty, Reporter

Eladio Bobadilla, a history professor at the University of Kentucky, was invited to a webinar hosted by BC to speak about some of the injustices he has experienced along with some that impacted the entire latinx community, including field workers.

The webinar began with a short introduction from Oliver Rosales, a history professor at BC. He gave information on the origins of the webinar, and invited the Executive Director of Rural Initiatives at Bakersfield College, Abel Guzman, to formally introduce guest speaker Eladio Bobadilla.

Bobadilla immigrated from Mexico to Delano when he was only eleven years old. He was an assistant professor of history at the University of Kentucky and then in 2019 he completed his dissertation on The Immigrant’s Human Rights Movement at Duke University, according to Bobadilla. He was very accomplished while at Duke and received many awards. Additionally, Bobadilla is a Weber State University alumni and a veteran of the United States Navy.

Bobadilla began by commending everyone in attendance for “taking some time to learn a bit about the history of [their] region”. He wanted the webinar to function as a fluid discussion and not a structured speech, to be as educational as possible. 

Bobadilla explained that he did not begin to think about his history and the history of his people until he was in grad school. Delano was the heart of the Farm Workers Union, however, Bobadilla realized that no one he knew personally, not his parents or his friends, were members of that union. Upon further research he realized that “it was the UFW’s, union for farm workers, treatment of the undocumented that alienated them.” The undocumented were not included in the movement and unfortunately this was also the case for unions nationally. “The UFW became a great force for immigrant rights,” explained Bobadilla. 

Bobadilla himself has faced challenges with discrimination in his education and career but he does not let it get to him. Instead he focused on the people that wanted to see him grow and succeed. As a final piece of advice to people in his community he said not to give up. “Find people that will help you and support you,” Bobadilla stated.