1981

Mid-Hudson Catskill Rural & Migrant Ministry is created.

An Executive Position is approved and on May 13, 1981 the By-Laws became effective. A proposed budget for the new ministry of $43,490 with a projected budget of $44,000 for 1982 was prepared.

On April 24th the invitation was extended to Rev. Andrew McComb, of Enfield, CT to become the first executive director of the Ministry.

1982

A New Brunswick Seminary student, was approved as the ministry’s first summer Outreach Worker.

In July 1982 the first newsletter (a one page information sheet) was sent to all the denominational executives for distribution.

Six children attended summer camp at the Presbyterian Camp in Holmes, NY at the cost of $1,000.

1983

The Ministry partners with New York Ag’n Markets to build a day care center in New Paltz, NY. RMM opens its first office at the Center.

1984

RMM is engaged in the construction of the day care center.

The first audio-visual presentations are prepared and offered to congregations about farmworker conditions.

1985

The Day Care Center is completed and in May, Matilda Cuomo, wife the Governor of New York State, comes for the dedication.

35 spots for campers are reserved at Warwick Conference Center @ $100/camper ($25 scholarships are offered by Warwick to each camper).

In December, the Council authorized the purchase of an old decrepit bungalow colony housing farmworkers. RMM creates a subsidiary non-profit housing organization to renovate the housing for the workers.

1986

The budget has risen to $91,778.

The Rev. Andrew McComb submits his resignation and The Rev. Kenneth Newquist is appointed interim director.

1987

The Rev. Gail Keeney-Mulligan is hired as the new Executive Director.

1988

Donna Robinson, the first administrative assistant is hired.

RMM runs into tremendous opposition in the efforts to build renovate migrant housing in the town of Plattekill. The opposition and delays cause the project to lose thousands of dollars and steps are taken to sell the property and disband the agency.

A great need to reach resort workers in Sullivan County is identified and continuing needs for more staff persists.

Two Haitian students are hired for the summer to spend four days each week in the Haitian camps and communities offering pastoral care and education.

1989

The first overnight summer camp is created, led by Ruth Faircloth.

The Daughters of Sarah, a support group for rural poor and migrant women, is founded.

A newsletter/journal called the Harvester is created.

Woman’s Day magazine, April , honors Gail Keeney-Mulligan and her work with migrant farmworkers by naming her a winner of their Outstanding Woman Award.

1991

Gail Keeney-Mulligan leaves to begin a new ministry in Panama; The Rev. Richard Witt is named Executive Director.

CITA, Centro Independiente de Trabjadores Agricolas/The Independent Farmworker Center, a farmworker advocacy organization directed by farmworkers is created in Florida, NY by farmworkers with the help of RMM.

1992

RMM begins to work with duck workers in Sullivan County.

Congregation Clusters, a partnership of congregations with farm Camps are created in Ulster, Columbia, Rensselear and Washington Counties.

1993

RMM in collaboration with other Hudson Valley organizations helps create the Farmworker Advocacy Coalition, and begins to work on getting the State Sanitary Code in farmcamps changed.

The Community Language and Empowerment Program is created to link farmworkers and college students through unique ESL programs.

1994

The first Delegations are offered, as allies spend a day in farm camps learning from workers about conditions and how to work for change.

RMM ADVOCATES, a volunteer corp. of allies is created enabling people of faith and students to accompany farmworkers in advocacy, organizing and civil rights litigation. Jean Walsh becomes RMM’s first Advocacy Coordinator

1995

The first FARMWORKER ADVOCACY DAY (FAD) takes place as farmworkers and their allies travel to Albany to lobby for justice. Approximately 150 people from across the state came to add their voices to the farmworkers.

The Board faces a decision of whether to close RMM due to economic challenges.

1996

YAG (Youth Arts Group) is born as Alan Weeks becomes the first Youth Empowerment Coordinator thanks to a bequest.

The first farmworker sponsored legislation in New York’s history passes both the Senate and the Assembly, as farms are mandated to provide drinking water in the fields. Farmworkers fill the Senate gallery for the historic vote.

1997

The Youth Empowerment Program expands into Columbia County through the creation of a summer day camp and out of school programs.

RMM moved to a new home - a gift from the Rev. Edwin Muller - located at Noxon Road in the Town of LaGrange.

The Justice For Farmworkers Campaign is created rising from the work of the Farmworker Advocacy Coalition and the Working Together Group. Created by several farmworker organizations, RMM agrees to coordinate the legislative campaign.

1998

Coins of Change, an annual program to help support RMM’s advocacy work, was launched.

A second historical piece of farmworker legislation is passed as farms are required to provide field sanitation.

Farmworkers and their advocates are joined at FAD by many labor leaders as Worker Memorial Day is commemorated.

1999

Over 1000 people attend FAD in which the on-going participation of youth in FAD fully blossoms as a special education program is incorporated for the first time into FAD.

The Youth Arts Group is invited to present their work at a gathering of North American students in Toronto, Canada.

The New York Daily News begins an award-winning series of editorials, The Harvest of Shame, bringing a powerful voice for justice into the arena. As a result of this media pressure and the on-going work of the Justice For Farmworkers Campaign, the legislature passes a third piece of legislation giving farmworkers the same minimum wage standard as other laborers in New York.

2000

RMM begins to expand into Western New York. Richard and Barbara Deming volunteer to become RMM’s Western New York Field Ministers.

FAD has grown into a huge event with more than 800 participants - church groups, youth groups, schools and colleges descend on albany to show their support for farmworkers.

YAG and staff travel to the border of Mexico to meet with union leaders and organizers to better understand the North American Free Trade Agreement.

2001

Rural and Migrant Ministry celebrates its 20th Anniversary.

A traveling museum exhibit commissioned by Cornell Migrant Program opens at the Hammond Museum in North Salem, NY. Its opening is the occasion of a gala event.

In celebration of RMM’s anniversary. A curriculum for communities of faith is written and published.

The annual budget of the ministry has grown to more than $500,000.

The Ministry is committed to expansion into Western New York. This necessitates a restructuring of the Board into two regional councils.

The New York Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) becomes a Covenanting Denomination.

YAG produces two Public Service announcements on access to colleges for immigrants and the use of pesticides in farms. The films are shown at the Young Filmmakers Film Festival on Long Island.

RMM registers as a lobbyist organization with New York State.

2002

Bill Abom becomes RMM’s first western New York Coordinator.

2003

RMM begins offering Alternative Spring Breaks with students from Vassar College and Cornell University.

The New York Conference of the United Church of Christ becomes Covenanting Denomination.

RMM helps facilitate two marches across New York (330 miles) in support of the Justice for Farmworkers Campaign.

The Pedro Cruz Scholarship program is created.

YAG hosts a first annual conference bringing together arts and Advocacy.

2004

A second state march from Auburn to Albany takes place.

2005

The Harvesting Justice Conference co-hosted with the Rochester Labor-Religion Coalition is held in Rochester.

The first annual state-wide Destiny Rural Women’s Conference is held in Binghamton in collaboration with Daughters of Sarah.

2006

The First annual Black Heritage Dinner is co-sponsored between Daughters of Sarah and RMM and draws over 150 people.

RMM co-sponsors a conference on immigration with Fordham University and others in Westchester County.

RMM celebrates its 25th anniversary with a Gala in NYC.

2007

A new summer day camp program begins in Dutchess County.

The first Justice For Farmworkers Campaign Coordinator is hired .

2008

RMM welcomes it first Managing Director, Laura Lecour.

RMM receives its first-ever bequest!

RMM begins, in collaboration with St John’s Monticello, Sullivan County, a new Youth Leadership program for middle school students rooted in democracy.

“The Harvesting Justice” Film Festival begin in Rochester.

New Summer Day Camp Programs begins in Sullivan.

RMM coordinates the Justice For All Speakers Forum – featuring those who are engaged in social justice from around the country.

2009

The Summer Overnight Leadership Camp celebrates its 20th anniversary.

A micro-finance loan program is developed by YAG.

The Workplace Education Center is dedicated Sunday, September 13th, 2009 in Monticello.

The 1st Walk-A-Thon to raise funds for camp is held.

Migrant Stories, a collection of oral histories of farmworkers is published.

2010

Liturgia Rural Worker Education Center is created in Lyons, NY.

The Farmworker Bill finally made it to the floor of the NYS Senate – it was defeated by 4 votes.

The Youth Economic Group (YEG) is formed in Sullivan County, and welcomes its first Coordinator, Jillian Rahm.

2011

RMM celebrates its 30th anniversary and Richard Witt celebrates his 20th anniversary as Executive Director.

YAG travels to Lima, Peru to present at an International Youth Conference for youth doing social justice.

YEG launches Basement Bags, a youth led cooperative venture.

Released the musical CD VOICES OF HOPE, a compilation featuring the musicians who have been a part of RMM through the years.

We were honored to continue to co-sponsor the Justice For All Speakers Forum. Our highlight this year was the speech by noted educator Jonathan Kozol.

We began the Leadership Institute, a program for middle school students in Sullivan County, a year long program focused on democracy.

We begin our Alternative Spring Break at Liturgia welcoming students from Vassar and Hobart-Williams Colleges.

2012

We are deeply honored to stand with our colleague Librada Paz as she, and RMM, receives the 2012 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award.

The Summer Overnight Leadership Camp celebrated its 25th anniversary.

YAG hosts the first annual Art for Justice state-wide conference in Albany.

2013

YEG welcomes a year round fellow for the first time from the Brethren Service Volunteers.

RMM offers a 10 month outreach education program for 8 congregations in Western New York called Building Bridges.

RMM’s new blog THE WITNESS is launched http://rmmwitness.tumblr.com/.

RMM launches a new Symposium in Rochester that welcomes over 100 people, as a part of its annual dinner.

2014

RMM in collaboration with YEG opens an education center in Liberty, New York (Catskill mountains) and names it Spark.

YEG launches the Youth Entrepreneurship Symposium: Exploring Cooperative Solutions in partnership with SUNY Sullivan.

RMM opens an office on Long Island with Nathan Berger joining as the Long Island Coordinator.

2015

YAG's film DREAMers Among US is viewed by over 1,000 in live screenings, and wins Best Short Documentary at the Hudson Valley International Film Festival and the Greater Washington Immigration Film Fest.

2016

RMM in partnership with NY farmworkers and allies leads the 200-mile March for Farmworker Justice from Smithtown Long Island to Albany NY.