Jessica Higgins joins RMM as Development Coordinator with ten years of experience in Development, grassroots fundraising, organizational advancement, and communications. Jessica attended Vassar College, where she got her start in Development in the Annual Fund and Donor Relations. She serves on the Board of Directors for Community Children's Theatre of Dutchess County and is a perpetual student, a nurse, an artist, and an actress, among other things.
Sakima is an Iraqi war veteran who graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a degree in Engineering, and went on to get her Master's in Business with a minor in Accounting. She is a Board Member of the Dutchess County Mental Health of America, sits on the City of Poughkeepsie Planning Board, and a social member of the Exempt Firemen Association. Sakima was the first female Commander of the Veteran of Foreign wars in their 75 year history. She is a member of the American Legion, and also served as President of the Poughkeepsie School District Board.
A native New Yorker, Jose has Colombian, Dominican and Italian roots, and spent a good part of his childhood in South America, where he attended school. Having been involved in human rights, immigrant, and economic social justice issues from an early age, Jose comes to RMM with 20 years experience in the labor movement. Working with UNITE! and CSEA, he has accumulated a long list of victories for immigrant and undocumented workers.
Gabriela Quintanilla, an RMM YAG granduate, was born in El Salvador, and migrated to the U.S. when she was 13 years old. In 2016, she graduated from Stony Brook University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and a minor in Political Science. She has become a social justice activist with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and the Student/Farmworker Alliance National Student Network.
Cecilia Dinio Durkin has recently joined Rural & Migrant Ministry, Inc as Administrative Coordinator for the Rural Women’s Assembly. She has been a long-time advocate, ally, and activist for women’s economic empowerment through her business, Women’s Work. For over 13 years, she brought income to women in Africa, Asia and Central America and looks forward to further expanding RMM’s women’s development, enrichment and education programs throughout New York State.
Nina is working with the Youth Arts Group and Rural Women's Assembly until February, when she moves to Liberty to work there until September with Youth Economic Group. She is our first volunteer from Germany, and she is doing service for one year through the German organization Eirene, which is connected with BVS (Brethren Volunteer Service). Her interests are peace and justice.
Jeannine Otis, RMM’s Music Director has become an important ally in our quest for farmworker justice in NYS. Jeannine has produced RMM’s Voices of Hope CD and leads the music programming at the Overnight Leadership Camp and our Annual Rural Women’s Conference. As a songwriter, singer, actress, and recording artist, she moves from style to style. She has worked with Grover Washington,
George Brown of Kool and the Gang, and Pete Seeger. Jeannine, a Warner European recording label artist, has had a top ten hit, appeared with the American Repertory Theater and with the Public
Jose is originally from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas and as a youth worked and traveled with his family as a migrant farmworker in the fields of the panhandles of Texas and Iowa. He graduated from Wesleyan University in Connecticut where he majored in American Studies with a concentration in Ethnic Studies. Jose worked as a paralegal and accredited representative focusing on immigration in South Texas as well as in New York City, and also has experience as an organizer and in public relations. Jose is thrilled to join the Justice for Farmworkers Campaign.
Born Pedro Roberto Mares in Tijuana, Baja California Mexico, Peter was originally home-schooled, graduated from Theodore Roosevelt HS in East LA and attended University of Lavern. Peter came to Sodus NY in 1998. In 2006 Peter began operating La Casa, a transitional home for farm workers for Catholic Charities of Wayne County, and in 2013 he came to RMM. Peter volunteers for the Boy Scouts as well as Literacy Volunteers and has a family of six. ‘Advocating for the new immigrants is in my character, and I cannot deny it.’
West recently moved to New York after living and working for 20 years on the U.S.-Mexico border, where he founded Project Puente to do educational work along the border and Casa Puente, a hospitality house which serves the needs of interns and volunteers working in the non-profit sector in El Paso. Prior to this West served as a Lay Missioner with Maryknoll, living and working for eight years in Venezuela. He has a Masters degree in Religious Education from Seattle University.