Backbone of Silicon Valley: Yurina Guzman
Yurina Guzman is a house cleaner who worked during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo by Vicente Vera.

Editor’s Note: Backbone of Silicon Valley is a first-of-its-kind video storytelling project. Our reporters spent a year documenting the plight of six essential workers in Silicon Valley—the unsung heroes who clean your house, pack your groceries and prescriptions, cook your food, work in hospitals and deliver your meals. San José Spotlight teamed up with filmmakers to tell their stories. Check our video page for new mini documentaries posting Mondays and Wednesdays in December.

With her life in danger following a court case, Yurina Guzman fled Guadalajara, Mexico where she worked as a nurse. She came to Silicon Valley and found work as a house cleaner.

The job was an adjustment; she cried while cleaning the first house. Guzman, who gets paid $15 an hour, finds it hard to get by.

During the pandemic, Guzman put her life at risk as a house cleaner and worried about getting COVID-19 and giving it to her family.

“Staying home during the pandemic wasn’t an option for me,” she said. “I was the only one working because my kids lost their jobs.”

Being undocumented is another hurdle. “The life of an undocumented immigrant is a life of stress and daily challenges,” Guzman said.

Meet Guzman, other workers, our reporters and filmmaker during a live event on Dec. 8. Click here to learn more and register.

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