Rural & Migrant Ministry, in partnership with rural workers, is especially rooted in a model of popular education in the traditions of Myles Horton, Paulo Freire and the Highlander Research and Education Center. Our Education Centers are gathering places that bring people together to learn from and inspire one another as they develop their leadership skills.
In partnership with farmworkers in Western New York, RMM has developed the Liturgia Rural Worker Education Center in Lyons, NY. Liturgia means: 'Honoring the public work of the People'. Liturgia has an emerging worker Steering Committee that is partnering with RMM to develop programs for rural workers, especially farmworkers, as they seek to improve working and living conditions. Programs have included: ESL-Literacy, workshops on knowing your rights, public speaking and developing campaigns. Each year Liturgia hosts a two-week Summer Day Program for young people in the area, and Liturgia is also home to the year-round teen program Justice Organization of Youth (JOY).
Liturgia is also a center for allies across the State who desire to learn more about the New York agricultural system and how to be stronger allies. Liturgia hosts numerous Delegations, an annual Alternative Spring Break for college students, college Internships.
The establishment of Amandla has afforded us the opportunity to bring workers and their families, allies, neighborhood, and social justice organizations together under one (safe) roof to support and assist us in living into our Mission. We have worked with a group of workers in the East End to establish a Steering Committee at the Center called CASA. CASA members meet regularly and have established several programs and curriculum, educating and organizing farmworkers and the rural poor.
Programs and workshops have included ESL, Know Your Rights, Public Speaking, and the Legislative Process. Members consequently have been very active in several Campaigns including the Greenlight Campaign and Justice for Farmworkers. At the Center, we’ve fostered collaboration amongst farmworkers and allies, through our Programs such as Alternative Spring Break, Building Bridges and Delegations. Allies have then become active in Senate Hearings, Rallies, phone and letter writing Campaigns to Senate and Assembly Representatives, and Farmworker Albany Day. In addition, female workers have established a new women's group, called Women of Hope, which meets regularly and hosts the annual Rural Women’s Assembly/a>. Finally, Amandla hosts an annual two-week Summer Day Program for young people, and is working to establish a year-round youth leadership program.
The Spark Rural Worker Education Center is home to the Youth Economic Group (YEG) and their cooperative business, Bags for Justice. Spark is located in Liberty NY (in the Catskills) and was named by YEG members because they wanted it to be a “spark for change”. Spark also hosts delegations, training programs for allies, Fellowships, and state-wide gatherings of agricultural workers.