Ana Laura Bolaños
Founder, Alliance of Active Women

Ana Laura Bolaños “YAYA is an organization that, through its youth, injects hope into the different agencies that they support. For AMA this means learning, overcoming, and communication. YAYA is a bridge between farm worker communities and young people: they learn from us and we learn from them. It’s a bridge of help and hope. It inspires me to see these youth who take an interest in the issues of farm workers. I am proud to see that it doesn’t matter where they come from or where we come from, we can work together with respect and seriousness. Thank you, YAYA, for allowing AMA to work with you.”

Baldemar Velasquez
Founder, Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC)

Baldermar “In all my 44 years of organizing farm workers, I’ve never seen a more delightful, dedicated, on-going organized group of young people in standing, marching, picketing in all our critical events for justice. They inspire and mobilize the youth and vindicate the old in the call for righteous treatment of the men and women who toil our fields.”

Jeannie Economos
Pesticide Safety and Environmental Health Project Coordinator, Farmworker Association of Florida

Jeannie Economos “I have watched YAYA grow and develop over the past 4-5 years. Thanks to the tremendous organizational skills and dedicated hard work of the staff, coupled with the passion, enthusiasm and commitment of students and youth around the state, YAYA has not only created programs and projects that have directly helped farmworkers, but has also helped raise awareness on campuses and in communities. From bicycle give-aways providing a means of transportation to undocumented farmworkers, to helping to lead the charge in stopping anti-immigrant bills from passing in the state legislature, YAYA has mobilized young people in ‘la lucha’ for justice.

The Farmworker Association of Florida is grateful for the many ways in which YAYA has supported the work of our organization and our farmworker communities in all our five areas of the state, including conducting workshops on Secure Communities, organizing groups for Lake Apopka Toxic Tours, coordinating alternative spring break activities to bring farmworkers and youth together, and advocating for AgJOBS on a national level. Farmworkers in Florida and around the country have a trusted ally in YAYA. Thanks, YAYA! You are doing exciting and important work….and, you ARE making a difference!”

Nataly Azcurra
NFWM Fall Intern 2011 / YAYA member

natalyBeing a part of YAYA this past semester has been such an experience. Working with the people at NFWM has helped me see what an effect what we do has on families who face a broken justice system. I am a second-year Anthropology student and interning with this organization has helped decide where I would want to take my studies later on, maybe to work with other underrepresented groups of people in Latin America who are at the mercy of a system that does not favor them.

While in NFWM-YAYA I have participated in YAYA meetings and Immigration Coalition meetings as well as working on the NFWM website. Farm workers are the backbone of this country in their essence and witnessing the honest work that goes on here can only inspire me to move forward and continue to be a part of something that truly does make a difference for everyone involved.

Gabriela Rios
Orlando YAYA member

gabyLast year, I completed a Ph.D. program on Rhetoric and Composition and shortly after I got a job as an assistant professor at the University of Central Florida. Although I was excited for this new chapter in my life, I quickly realized that social issues in the academic world are usually seen as something to be studied from a distance. I was disappointed.

Genuine solidarity is important for me because I come from a working class family; where some of my family members worked as farm workers. My great grandfather was a Bracero worker and my dad and his mom worked in the fields picking cotton. Today, some of my relatives have to work three jobs to make ends meet and members of my family have experienced oppression and discrimination. Being in solidarity with the oppressed means to stand with people like them. That is why I decided to join NFWM-YAYA.

In NFWM-YAYA I found a community of individuals committed to social justice and to helping each other become better allies. The organization provides us with a way to build legitimate relationships with farm workers and to take action in meaningful ways.

The lives of YAYA members have been transformed through our work with farm workers and through the organization’s leadership development. A new, stronger community is formed when our members and farm workers work together. We unite. We lament the losses and celebrate the victories of farm workers because these are the losses and victories of people we know and care for!

Although none of my relatives currently work in the fields, they still encourage me to stay involved with NFWM-YAYA. They know that when people work together to disrupt unjust power structures we begin to build a better world for all. Lets work together to make a difference!

Antonio De Jesus
YAYA member

Antonio De Jesus

YAYA-NFWM is a great organization with great people with different life experiences and backgrounds who come together to fight for farm worker justice.

Coming from a farm worker family, YAYA-NFWM has given me tools and a way to fight the injustice my family and other farm worker families have faced. YAYA-NFWM has given me the opportunity to not only work in solidarity with farm workers, but also helped me better understand the oppression farm workers face in the fields where they work and the communities where they live.

We have built relationships with not only the farm workers themselves but also with their families, and antonio's familyothers living in their communities, including farm worker organizations.  The struggle that began with Dolores Huerta, Cesar Chavez, and the supporters of the early farm worker struggle continues to this day here in Florida.

Whether it’s meeting with farm workers in the fields, holding workshops, talking about farm worker awareness in our schools and communities, or fighting alongside farm workers in our streets and in front of corporate offices, YAYA-NFWM works hard to not allow for those injustices to go unheard. Come and join us as we continue to work in solidarity with farm workers in their communities and organizations!

Nico Gumbs
YAYA Coordinator, former YAYA member

nicoThe relationships built between farm worker communities and NFWM-YAYA have allowed me to witness firsthand some of the issues that farm workers face at the work place and in their communities. Wage theft, pesticide exposure, and fear due to immigration status are all challenges that farm workers face daily.

These conditions must change. Farm workers work incredibly hard to provide us with food for our tables, thus their work should be respected, recognized, and valued.

NFWM-YAYA’s work focuses on supporting worker-led campaigns that seek to improve these oppressive conditions. Despite their marginalization, farm workers are fighting harder than ever for the dignity that they deserve. That is why our work to educate and mobilize allies in support of farm worker justice must continue!

We value your participation in the movement and your presence in our greater community. Raise your voice alongside ours as we continue traveling the long road to justice. Join YAYA!

Brian Luft
YAYA member

brianBefore I joined YAYA I was just beginning my journey as an activist. At the time I was far less prepared to articulate the injustice I sensed in our world, and even less equipped with the skills and leadership abilities to do anything about it. I came to the realization that for systematic change to occur, it would have to be from the bottom up, and from this realization I began to examine the struggles of people who’s access to food, water, and shelter, is systematically repressed. This led to an examination of the food system as a whole, and when I discovered YAYA I knew that this was an organization I wanted to be a part of.

YAYA isn’t just an organization that has given me the space to exercise my desire to fight the powers that create injustice, but an organization that has allowed me to build relationships with the workers that sacrifice so much to feed each and every one of us, and provide for their families.

Farm workers experience sub-poverty wages, wage-theft, sub-standard housing, gender and racial discrimination, exposure to pesticides, fear of deportation, and lack of access to shade, water, bathrooms, and healthcare. Despite these struggles farm workers are organizing themselves to change these oppressive conditions. To me, solidarity means taking the lead from those workers in their struggle for justice. The people who perform the most essential of labor, should have access to essential resources. More than that, they should be respected and valued for the work that they do.

I am constantly learning more about the farm worker movement through my involvement with YAYA, as well as about myself, and how I best fit into this movement. I have gained knowledge and experience that I will always take with me and do my best to impart onto others. If we work together, we can build the power and momentum required to make the world a more just place for everybody. Join us!