On April 17-19, a group of middle school students from Miami spent their weekend in the rural communities of Homestead and Immokalee. They engaged in different activities in order to learn more about farm workers, the farm worker movement and how they and their communities can get involved.
The students go to Miami Country Day School and are part of the National Spanish Honors Society. They fund raised for months to pay for all the costs of the trip and brought donations to the farm worker groups that they met with.
On the first morning, the students visited a tomato farm and volunteered at the Homestead office of the Farm Worker Association of Florida (FWAF), working on the office’s garden, making phone calls and working on a data base.
On Friday afternoon the students had a party with local kids. It was important to share time with people from the community so that they could hear personal stories and put a face to everything they had heard about farm workers and their communities before they left Miami.
The students went gleaning on Saturday morning and were able to relate to farm workers in a different way. After this activity, they had a better understanding of the importance of solving wage issues and labor conditions.
These issues were discussed during our visit to the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ community building. The group was greeted by CIW and Interfaith Action of South West Florida staff, including a girl their age. The group toured Immokalee and learned about Modern Day Slavery and other issues. By the end of the day everyone was very tired and thanks to the generosity of Christ Lutheran Ministries the group was able to stay at Cape Coral over night.
The last activity of the weekend was an interactive presentation by a staff person of the FWAF Immokalee office. The students had a chance to ask questions, learn about the community of Immokalee, FWAF’s AIDS program and the orange industry.
We would like to thank Christ Lutheran Ministries, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, FWAF Homestead and Immokalee offices, Vanessa Cabrera and the people at Miami Country Day School who made this trip a reality. The students left inspired to make a difference!