Adrian was born in Oaxaca, Mexico and came undocumented at the age of seven to California where he lived for less than a year before moving to Dunkirk, NY where has lived there for 13 years. He was recruited by the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) to attend SUNY College at Oneonta. While at Oneonta he went on a mission trip to Honduras to build a water purifying system with the First Presbyterian Church of Cooperstown, in addition to participating in a Service Learning trip to Bolivia in collaboration with the nonprofit organization Save the Children Bolivia.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Nathan Berger is currently the Long Island Coordinator. Since September 2014 Nathan has been coordinating the Long Island JFW Legislative Campaign as well as Long Island farmworkers empowerment and outreach programs. Nathan graduated from Hobart & William Smith Colleges in 2013. During his time at the colleges he interned at RMM's Liturgia Worker Education Center in Western New York. His experience at RMM inspired him to continue to fight with farmworkers for dignity and respect.
While a priest in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany for 17 years, Brian served in numerous roles, including parish associate, HC chaplain and Director of the Peace and Justice Commission (which taught modules on “effective organizing for social justice” throughout the diocese). He also was the diocesan Refugee Resettlement Coordinator for 3 years.
Dawn hurley has a background in education and sees education as a key tool of empowerment. She has taught in a variety of settings from a public High School in the South Bronx, to a private school in Kigali, Rwanda to adult ESL in Brooklyn. While living in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Dawn broke away from the classroom to join with a number of young Congolese women to start a fair trade sewing Cooperative. She was inspired by the manner in which development of a sustainable Cooperative business helped empower these young women to have a greater voice in their community.