Her participation in National Farm Worker activities has led her to support the Dream Act.
West Michigan Conference Peace With Justice Committee
My years as a wintertime Florida resident offered experiences visiting the strawberry farm worker families near Plant City and the tomato pickers near Immokalee. We worked through the Pinellas Support Group/National Farm Worker Ministry.
Clearwater First United Methodist Church visited the trailer camps to give food supplies, clothing and the opportunity to say “gracias” for harvesting produce for our benefit. Then for nine years our secular mobile home park took “Christmas” to a different farm worker camp each year. This included gifts for the children to open on Christmas, food, clothing, visit with Santa and a piñata with lots of candy and fun.
This past Christmas visit gave me time to converse with two sisters who are young adult farm workers and DACA recipients. They came with their farm worker parents when they were ages ten and three and have lived and been educated in the United States since then. They had ended the 2017 harvest season picking apples in the Sparta, Michigan area.
Through the years I have met many families who spent the late summer and fall picking squash, blueberries, and apples in Michigan and could give them a happy thanks for picking produce that I love so much.
At a memorable Support Group meeting, two young adults spoke about their educations after growing up in farm worker families. The young man said that it meant a lot to his family when church groups made these visits to their camps. He was able to complete his education to have a Doctorate in Pharmacology. The young lady had a Bachelor’s Degree in Community Organization.
These are young people who have lived and received education in the U.S. and know this as their country. They contribute to our nation. I would be deeply saddened if we close our doors to these young adults who appreciate being a part of American society.
Note: Those like Clarice, who wish to voice their support for DACA recipients, may find action steps on the website of the General Board of Church and Society.