From Service to Solidarity

The mission and the model

The National Farm Worker Ministry’s mission is to amplify the voice of the workers and support their fight for justice. At the time the organization was created, the mission was clear but there was back and forth deliberation about the model. Those who were there all clearly remember the farm workers telling the faith community that what they needed was not charity, but solidarity. 

Long-time NFWM staffer, Roberta (Bert) Perry, recalls what she learned: “Sister Pat taught me the ‘service to solidarity’ concept. She had a poster board and she’d draw one circle below another circle with a line between them. The top circle was the church and the bottom circle was the workers. She said the church people did service for farm workers so the church was on top and that put the farm workers below – they were like a project to the church people. Her next illustration was two circles side by side with a line between them and that represented advocacy. We are on the same level, speaking out for farm workers. And the last circle on the bottom was called servanthood or solidarity. When you were in servanthood, or solidarity (we used both words), they became one circle. We were one with farm workers and the farm workers were equal with us. We were working together.”

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