Members of my family have worked in various types of migrant labor, including farm labor. So, when I landed my first job in Orlando, I knew I wanted to work with the farm worker and immigrant community there. Below is brief synopsis of work I & my students collaborated on with two community partners.
I am working on a book project based on farm worker activism that stems from community-based research I am conducting with Orlando’s Youth and Young Adult Network of the National Farm Worker Ministry (YAYA). This project will offer case studies of three farm worker organizations to show how farm workers and students have worked together to “change reality.” Through what I call land-based literacies and rhetorics, farm workers are able to create and sustain coalitions through networked or relational, transnational processes of communication that offer alternatives to social change beyond the nation-state apparatus.
I also taught citizenship classes at the Hope Community Center (HCC) in Apopka, FL. The students are predominantly Spanish speakers, so I used a bilingual Spanish/English method for teaching. Additionally, students in my Rhetoric and Civic Engagement course partnered with HCC and attended the classes to help facilitate group work and re-imagine service as a way to “deconstruct systems of power so the need for service and the structures that create and sustain them are dismantled” (Tania D. Mitchell, 2008).