On January 30th and 31st, the NFWM Board and Staff held it’s winter meeting at the United Methodist Church Life Enrichment Center near Leesburg, Fl. One of the highlights of the weekend was to have thirteen YAYAs (NFWM’s Youth & Young Adult Network) join us on Saturday.
Tirso Moreno, President of the Farmworker Association of Florida, came and spoke about current conditions for farm workers in Florida. Tirso highlighted the devastating effects that the recent freezes, affecting every Florida county, are having on farm workers who now have little or no work.
Francisca Olvera Our Lady of Victory Missionary Sisters), Virginia Nesmith (NFWM Director), Alicia Alvarado (Dominican Sisters of Peace), Ana Bolaños of Alianza de Mujeres Activas, Ana’s son & daughter. (by Alicia Alvarado)
We heard from Ana Bolaños, the head of the Alliance of Active Women (AMA-Alianza de Mujeres Activas), a group of farm worker women in central Florida who conduct a variety of community-based initiatives to improve the well being of farm worker women and their families.
We received an update about the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ Fair Food Campaign from CIW member Oscar Otzoy and Brigette Gynther of Interfaith Action of Southwest Florida. A major focus in the Southeast is with Publix Supermarkets. Following the talk, and in the pouring rain, board and staff picketed at nearby stores and took manager letters in from NFWM calling on Publix to join CIW in working to improve conditions for Florida tomato pickers.
Edie Rasell, UCC Justice & Witness Ministries, amidst YAYAs picketing at Publix.
The day ended with a lively discussion between YAYA members, who were mostly college and high school students from the Orlando and Deland Chapters, and the board and staff. It began with an “ice-breaker”, where each person was called on to do their favorite dance move. Then everyone shared stories about their participation in the farm worker movement.
Deland YAYA member Salvador Perez said of the experience, “We listened to the stories of the living legends of the farm worker movement. I left that day, feeling a lot better about what I was doing. When I got home I thought about if I would ever be like those people and have great stories to pass to the youth.”
To view more photos of the weekend, visit our site on FLICKR.