Grace Calus, 2022 SAF intern
Farmworker Advocacy Network
As an intern with SAF, the NC Justice Center, and the Farmworker Advocacy Network, I find that all 3 of these organizations hold and highlight values that align with my own. I see these values internally through the organizational structures and leadership within these organizations and externally through their work with communities. All of these organizations work together in some way for the same goal of liberating farmworkers from oppression and dangers from various sources. They utilize methods of not just serving workers, but listening to them and echoing their voices rather than speaking for them. They work to strengthen the movement and allow farmworkers to have pride in the work they do and their culture. These organizations place the value of human life above professional or political success and especially above monetary gain.
Something that continued to impress me throughout this internship, is how many avenues there are within the farmworker justice movement. It seems like such a specific issue; however, there is an astounding number of specialized groups, professionals, and projects within. While there were separations of focus, there is incredible collaboration forming a cohesive community working towards the overall well-being and justice for farmworkers. Teamwork within the farmworker justice community gives the movement wheels. Meetings were safe spaces to share ideas, different perspectives created innovation and resources to advance projects.
In my work this summer, I had to acclimate to a fast-paced and intense work environment where I did not see any substantial progress in the farmworker justice movement. But I am encouraged to see so many organizations who make such great strides in many areas of this movement, and I hope there can be continued coordination between organizations to make overall and lasting change. The first objective in this long road to workers' justice is education. There is so much the general public does not know about. Before this internship, the lack of knowledge I had on worker injustices is unbelievable. Now, I cannot imagine continuing the way I was living in oblivion, knowing the struggles so many have to bear. I did my best to make content accessible to multiple populations because it is pertinent that the information can reach those affected. People who do not speak English or have low literacy may often find themselves at a disadvantage which is not fair because they do not have the privilege of understanding the largest things like their rights all the way to the smallest things like what to buy in the grocery store.
I feel that my participation in this internship impacted the farmworker movement by strengthening and organizing FAN, as the coalition was without a coordinator. My work that involved providing resources and information via social media made me realize there were people who needed this information to empower themselves to avoid heat stress, Covid-19, survive natural disasters, or even just know their rights. I hope my work was impactful on the farmworker movement, because I felt very impacted by everything I did throughout this summer.