Lehr tackles Latin American issues

Senior Natalie Lehr, a history major concentrating on Latin America, plans to study abroad next semester in Cuernavaca, Mexico. She will be participating in an intensive Spanish language program. Next fall, she hopes to attend graduate school, enrolled in a multidisciplinary program to include history, political science and economics. She also worked on the Iota Delta clothesline project and participated in summer service. In her spare time she enjoys jogging, playing the trumpet, listening to music and dancing. / photo by Shelby Wertz
Senior Natalie Lehr, a history major concentrating on Latin America, plans to study abroad next semester in Cuernavaca, Mexico. She will be participating in an intensive Spanish language program. Next fall, she hopes to attend graduate school, enrolled in a multidisciplinary program to include history, political science and economics. She also worked on the Iota Delta clothesline project and participated in summer service. In her spare time she enjoys jogging, playing the trumpet, listening to music and dancing. / photo by Shelby Wertz

by Kiandra Shawnta Johnson
and
Ryan Sones
Staff Writers

The possibilities seem endless for 21-year-old Natalie Lehr, a senior at the University of La Verne, to take charge in her future career plans and let her voice be heard.

Lehr’s major, social history of America and Latin America, is the study of both societies.

Her major got her started on the path of social and welfare development by picketing companies and protesting against worker exploitation, during her internship this past summer.

The internship included protesting in two major campaigns, one was the Strawberry Worker’s Union.

The protest, held near UCLA, was designed to raise public awareness of the conditions of strawberry field workers.

“Our goal was to start a union to represent these workers, plus raise public awareness,” said Lehr.

The two-hour protest involved chanting and picketing. The problems dealt with include the wages paid to the workers, their living and working conditions, and the overall treatment of the workers.

“They [the field owners] manipulate them upon them getting there,
because they know their whole livelihood depends upon them working there,” said Lehr.

She stated that the working conditions pose threats to public welfare also. For example, bathrooms are located next to the fields, making it possible for human waste to come up and contaminate the strawberries and make the workers sick.

She also said that there is a problem with having only two state workers delegated to approximately the entire northern area of the United States and awareness must be raised to have them there, because the state apparatus is not big enough for them to know about every field.

Another campaign Lehr protested was the “Save Rancho” campaign. The campaign was against a state budget cut of $28 million.

The cut would have not only laid off workers, but also severely decreased the type of quality care this business was giving.

“They just wanted to privatize it to get it off the public’s hands,” she said.

Lehr’s present goals are to attend graduate school after her spring 1997 graduation. Schools she has applied to include; University of Pittsburgh, Georgetown and University of Texas at Austin.

Her future goals include becoming a developmental adviser in Latin America through the United States or an international organization.

She wants to help create a developmental policy that takes into account rural and urban areas as well as other important historical or structural specifics.

“My purpose as an developmental adviser would be to include those people in development projects, to help raise their standard of living and quality of life,” said Lehr.

This spring, Lehr plans to participate in the Brethren Colleges Abroad’s new site at Cuernavaca, Mexico. She is going for the Language Intensive Program to enhance her Spanish speaking capabilities and practical experience of living in Latin America.

“I want to travel because you can talk about a place, but living there is different,” said Lehr.

Lehr is also going to regain roots she feels she has lost. Living in Los Angeles, her mom was once shameful of speaking Spanish because she was the only Latin family in the area. In turn, she did not teach Lehr Spanish because of that fear.

“It has always been a lifetime goal of mine to learn Spanish,” said Lehr, “it’s my way of regaining a lost heritage.”

Lehr, a member of Pi Gamma Mu Honors Society, plans to publish her own essay on the Chiapas, a southern region in Mexico undergoing a revolution against the discriminating parties of the government.

The Rowland Heights native is a current Honors student and an active member of the Iota Delta Sorority, where she is Pledge Educator and in the past held the positions of Social Chair and Sergeant of Arms.

The honor student is an accomplished trumpet player, soloist and performed for the University of Pittsburgh Marching Band.

She has been the recipient of a McNair Scholarship and a History Honor Award.

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