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YAYA at the Community Garden

On Saturday, February 11, 2012, YAYA volunteered working in the community garden of Fellsmere, about an hour and a half south of Orlando. The weather when we left carpooling from Orlando was brisk, but sure enough, when we arrived in Fellsmere it was sunny, warm and welcoming. The perfect day to get ones hands dirty.

Farmworkers Join Civil Rights March in Orlando

Black History Month Civil Rights March Highlights Current Issues


Former Lake Apopka farmworkers Geraldine Matthew and Betty Dubose joined the Florida Civil Rights Association and Occupy Orlando, as well as other groups, in a civil rights march and rally around Lake Eola in Orlando, Florida on Saturday afternoon, February 25. 

The Knee-A-Thon for justice!

The Knee-A-Thon for justice for immigrants was a success on Saturday, February 11th.  You can view the photos of the event here.  Further events are planned for the future.  Join us in solidarity with this important action for immigrants' rights.


On Their Knees for Justice!

Immigrants and Supporters Crawl on Their Knees to Draw Attention to the Crisis Affecting Immigrant Families

On Saturday, February 11, at 7:30am, concerned  families from the central Florida area will join the Knee A Thon to bring attention to the urgent need for immigration reform and to stop the tragic separation of families that results in children of undocumented immigrants being left without their parents.  The gathering will begin at the intersection of Hwy 60 and US 27 and end at 10:30 a.m. approximately 2 miles north from there on US 27.

For more information, contact Santos de la Rosa at 863.414.2217 or Tirso Moreno of the Farmworker Association of Florida at 407-810-3330.


New Report finds Wage Theft is Widespread in Florida


Wage Theft.  It is what happens when someone is not paid for the work that they do.  In some cases, it means that workers are cheated of their overtime hours, or they are not paid the minimum wage.  It can mean that a worker is paid late or has their time cards or pay stubs altered.  Sometimes, it is the result of workers being forced to work during meal times or breaks or being forced to work off the clock.   Sadly, all too often and increasingly, it can mean that a person who has put in an honest day, week or even months of work does not get paid at all.   Since the recession began in 2008, and in the ever-increasing anti-immigrant atmosphere in the country, the wage theft problem has only gotten worse. (Read the report here ) (See on the news)

"Be the Dream" Rally at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida

Students and Supporters Come Together in Solidarity

Leaders, activists, and student groups from across the state of Florida and around the country are working together in an effort to bring equality and access to a higher education to everyone.

For decades, people have been searching for their own specific version of the American Dream.  Some yearn for a big house and a fancy car. 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration in Apopka

“Let us remember those who have died for justice, for they have given us life.” Cesar Chavez
In the 44 years since the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we as a country have come a long way; however, the fight and struggle for justice and equality are far from over.  While Dr. King was most outwardly an advocate for the African-American community during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, his voice and his message resonate throughout the country as a whole.  All people who have been oppressed or discriminated against or victimized can take Dr. King’s words as a voice of inspiration.  We are all in the struggle for equality together and we must all work together to ensure that everyone is free.


Illegal workers pay taxes, won't benefit

Taken from:

By John Lantigua

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer


While many Americans believe that illegal immigrants don't pay taxes, the Social Security Administration sees billions of dollars flow into its coffers every year that have been deducted from paychecks issued to undocumented workers using false names and phony Social Security numbers - money those workers will almost certainly never see again.

SSA officials keep a record of total wages that do not match up with real names and numbers in their system. The record is called the earnings suspense file.

In 2009, the last year for which figures are available, employers reported wages of $72.8 billion for 7.7 million workers who could not be matched to legal Social Security numbers.


The Apopka office of the Farmworker Association of Florida held their annual Posada ceremony and celebration on the evening of Sunday, December 18th to coincide with the International Day for Migrants to bring the community together in an evening of festivities and in solidarity with migrants in this country and around the world.  A true community event, with leaders, volunteers and members from the community all contributing their time, talents and energy to make the event a success, everyone enjoyed a delicious traditional Mexican dinner, a nativity scene by local youth, splendid guitar playing by David, traditional dances by the children led by their dance instructor, sharing of toys, a piñata for the kids, and much more.  Held outside the Apopka office, the music, laughter and song wafted on the mild Florida winter night air, calling others to come and join in.

Farmworker representative says Senate report provides validation for Lake Apopka workers

Taken from: http://www.thefloridacurrent.com/article.cfm?id=25809972


A Farmworker Association of Florida representative says she hopes a Senate interim report on the plight of Lake Apopka farmworkers will lead the state to help those who believe they have suffered from working around pesticides. 

About 2,500 farmworkers lost their jobs in 1998 after the state bought almost 14,000 acres of vegetable farms around Lake Apopka to restore water quality and shoreline habitat. A 2006 study by anthropologist Ron Habin for the Farmworker Association of Florida found that 83 percent of farmworkers said they were in either "fair" or "poor" health and 79 percent thought their exposure to pesticides had affected their health.

Justice never too late for Lake Apopka farmworkers

Sixty-one year old Geraldean Matthew, a former Lake Apopka farmworker , spends most of her days in ill health. Suffering from congestive heart failure, Lupus, and kidney failure, she believes that exposure to highly toxic pesticides that were sprayed several decades ago is responsible for her various illnesses, as well as those of her children.

The predominantly African American community of former Lake Apopka farmworkers in Central Florida, U.S.A., was exposed for decades to the organochlorine pesticides aldrin, endrin, dieldrin, chlordane, DDT, and toxaphene. Used for vegetable cultivation beginning in World War II, these pesticides were eventually all banned, because of their toxicity which resulted in their serious impacts on wildlife and the environment. Because of their persistence in the environment, their legacy continues decades after their use was curtailed. However, survivor farmworkers who were exposed to these same chemicals have yet to achieve justice for violations of their right to life, health, and livelihood.

Community Disaster Response Center

Celebration of Grand Opening of the Community Disaster Response Center, Pierson, FL
Three years of negotiation, planning, and perseverance finally came to fruition with the dedication of the Community Disaster Response Center at the Farmworker Association of Florida’s office in Pierson, FL.

After the storms, freezes, and floods of 2004 and 2005, the members of the Pierson community were asked by the National Farm Worker Ministry what would lessen the impact of disasters on their community. 



Florida's unique climate means that our prime growing season in the state is fall, winter and spring, unlike most other states in the nation.  Vegetable and citrus crops are planted, cultivated and harvested from October through May and even June.  Farmworkers travel to Florida for the long growing season.  The community of farmworkers at the Farmworker Association of Florida office in Fellsmere are following the same growing season in this second year of their local farm project.

Farmworkers Issues Are Featured at TEDx Event


Farmworkers Issues Are Featured at TEDx Event in Fruitvale Last Week


The article states:

"But it was Barry Estabrook’s tale of Lake Apopka, a once-pristine lake near Orlando, Florida that local growers turned into the state’s most polluted body of water, that summed it up neatly. After nearly 70 years, the growers have been bought out for $103 million, $50 million spent on cleanup, $2 million for wildlife research projects to determine the problems caused by the pollution. Meanwhile, a proposed $500,000 clinic for local workers—three-quarters of whom, in a 2006 study, were found to have health problems, most likely due to the pollution—was vetoed by Governor Rick Scott. “Maybe we’re being too hard on Governor Scott,” concluded Estabrook. “How can we expect our politicians to put more value on farmworkres than the people who elected them to office do?” He paused. “And the people who elected them to office? That’s us.”"

Read the entire article here.
Civil Eats » Blog Archive » TEDxFruitvale Puts the Focus on Farmworkers



Florida is making a statement to the country - we will be on our knees to Washington, DC to send a message to our lawmakers and to the public.  In a show of gratitude to all the millions of immigrant families in the U.S. today, we will be walking on our knees until we are heard.
Called the Knee-A-Thon Pilgrimage, the effort arose from a community in Sebring, Florida in an effort to draw attention to the daily reality that immigrants in this country are facing, in the current climate of fear and intimidation against immigrants in the U.S.  Racial profiling, detentions, deportations, workplace raids, separation of families - these are the harsh realities that too many in our community are facing.  Rather than hide in fear from the ugly rhetoric in the news media harshly targeting immigrants, supporters will be drawing attention to their cause and seeking media attention to raise the issues with lawmakers and the public.  Kneelers meet every Saturday and Sunday from 7 to 10am to take turns marching on their knees.  The Farmworker Association of Florida is supporting this effort with the donation of knees pads and in marching with others.
Read the article below.  If you would like to join the pilgrimage, contact Santos De La Rosa through Facebook at "Knee-A-Thon: Thank You Pilgrimage."  
Thanks for your support!


Stop, look at march on knees





Farmworker children often accompany their parents into the fields after school and on weekends.  Toddlers, whose parents have no daycare money or opportunities, are often in the fields beside their parents all day while Mom and Dad harvest our fruits and vegetables.  For ten years, EPA has known that the pesticide chlorpyrifos is harmful to children.  Because of this, it was banned for residential use years ago, yet EPA continues to allow its use in agricultural production, putting farmworker children, their parents and the developing fetus at great risk.


Now, we have a chance to tell EPA ‘no more chlorpyrifos – not in our homes or in our fields!’ To protect farmworkers, the EPA must ban chlorpyrifos now.  Join us in signing the petition to EPA.  (Sign on here

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