Kathya Vazquez was born in Zacatecas, Mexico and migrated to the United States at the age of three alongside with her parents. During her early childhood in the US, she attended preschool and kindergarten. After that, her family had to move back to Mexico, and she continued her education there. Upon arriving in the United States for the second time, the Vazquez family had to adjust to the American way of life once again. She shared about the difficulties transitioning into the American educational system after experiencing third and fourth grade in Mexico. Vazquez also took ESL classes and subsequently graduated from high school. Despite barriers posed by her immigration status she still found motivation to enroll in college and earned her Associates Degree at West Valley College in Criminal Justice and Liberal Arts and then transferred to CSU East Bay where she received her bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. Continuing her education helped her bridge the inequity gap that limited her family’s economic and social mobility. Kathya is currently able to assist individuals with disabilities as a part-time Registered Behavioral Technician. She finds fulfillment in helping and supporting others, especially those who need it most.
Growing up, Kathya and her family struggled to find stability as they learned to navigate through various systems in a new country. At a young age, she took on the responsibility of translating and advocating for her parents. Her parents never learned to speak fluent English but have aspired to keep improving by taking free English classes. She describes her experience with growing up in a crowded household and reflects on the struggle of people who have economic and language barriers. Having experienced the many challenges inspired her to be proactive and utilize her creativity. She founded a small business in a cosmetic industry to support herself and her family in 2018. Vazquez is very passionate about her job and really enjoys networking and building relationships with her clients. She hopes to have her own business location soon, but for now she offers trainings to help others pursuing to learn the cosmetology skills of her expertise.
Vazquez and her family are celebrating both Mexican and American holidays. It is of special significance for Kathya and her family to preserve their own culture while respecting the multicultural environment in Santa Clara County. An example of a family tradition is the Santo Santiago celebration that unifies their family together and enriches the cultural life in our region.
Quote: “All that people want is to work and provide money for their families here or in Mexico.”
The interview and narrative were done by Maria Montoya.