After graduation with a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities and theology, Senator Saldaña began to work for the Oregon farm worker union. This experience set her on a path of advocacy and social justice work. When I asked Senator Saldaña about how her Humanities education has influenced her activism and professional work, she explained that she has relied on the cross-pollination of history, language, politics, and identity. “[An] interdisciplinary approach requires thinking about [the human experience] from different perspectives.
She says her Jesuit education, which stresses sympathetically listening to different viewpoints, has led her to always look for a “win-win” within her work. One of the central themes in her career has been to focus on the question, “how do we improve economic policies that benefit historically low wage workers and women?” She spoke of the “Sectors of Care work”—initially performed by enslaved people and women and which has been historically undervalued and made invisible within our society. In the Senate, she asks how will our generation manifest our values by making sure job opportunities and other social goods are available to everyone in society, including those who do the necessary work of caring for the vulnerable.