– Ana Rojas-Gabriel, 2021 SAF Program Assistant
Student Action with Farmworkers
This summer, I’ve had the pleasure of partnering with SAF for a second year as a Program Assistant. In this role, I have been able to gain experience in project management, overseeing the behind-the-scenes of working with a nonprofit organization and learning more about the farmworker justice movement and the current advocacy efforts with the legislatures in NC and SC. As my time in this position is coming to the end, I'm reflecting on the unique encounters and memories I've experienced during this transformative summer.
I remember feeling nervous to take on this role as I had limited leadership experience– I had never led a large group of students, much less college students. Over time, I have become more comfortable leading and facilitating conversations and workshops. Although this summer has allowed me to refine and hone necessary soft skills, my greatest takeaway has been working with the SAF staff and connecting to our incredible cohort of 24 students. Since the beginning, they have left an impact on me.
Meeting virtually at the beginning of the summer, we all shared our stories and personal journeys as they relate to farm work, education, or life. These connections were amplified during our mid-retreat in July. The faces I once saw in tiny boxes on my screen were now standing in front of me. The retreat allowed me to spend time with interns in person and hear more about their personal journeys and the outreach work they have been doing with farmworkers. I am still grateful to everyone for being so vulnerable during this meeting as we revealed unique experiences and reflected on the summer.
I will treasure this summer as it has allowed me to go out of my comfort zone and embrace myself in a new light. I have been inspired to utilize my voice for a movement I care deeply for and will stay active in and encourage others to learn about. I have made progress this summer and built confidence in my abilities to lead and take space to share this passion with others.