On Saturday, March 29th, I attended the Woman to Woman Conference in Apopka, Florida. The day’s event marked the fifth year the University of Central Florida Women’s Studies Department collaborated with the Farm Worker Association of Florida (FWAF) to provide a workshop filled with a variety of informative topics for low-income African American, Haitian, and Latino women. The women in attendance were from farm worker communities that suffer from low access to health care, low access to healthy food, high levels of sexual harassment at the workplace (the fields), etc.
YAYA believes that education and sharing information is a pivotal part of the solution towards improving the social injustice that these women face on and off the fields.
The Woman to Woman Conference was split into two sessions. The early afternoon session covered the following topics: managing finances (income taxes) and how to avoid fraud, preventative medical health care for children, and women’s health. The second session covered the following topics: reproductive health, human trafficking, and identifying trauma.
Not only did the women sit in for the workshops, they actively participated in the Greek dancing, Zumba, and arts and crafts (how-to on make piñatas) activities.
YAYA, along with other organizations, helped facilitate the event by participating in child care and in the distribution of refreshments, lunch, and dinner. Throughout the event volunteers from different organizations rotated in their duties. I mostly volunteered doing childcare. While the children’s mothers were attending the sessions and partaking in the physical activities, the children were under our care. We strived to maintain a safe, fun environment, as well as providing snacks to appease their dietary needs. Towards the end of day the children reunited with their families to enjoy dinner.
The Woman to Woman Conference is an important event because it brings together a diverse community of people with the purpose of spreading knowledge in order to empower women. The workshops that the women were present for focused on the collective shared experience that they share as female farm workers.
We hope to continue attending the Woman to Woman Conferences in the future and would like to thank FWAF and the University of Central Florida Women’s Studies Department for inviting us to this important event.
Photos courtesy of Sandra Almanza