This past Wednesday night, I went on my first drive with Juntos.
Juntos (meaning "together" in Spanish) is a UVM-SMC coalition group that works closely with the VT Migrant Farmworker Solidarity Project (VTMFSP), and basically, the goal of the group is to reach out to migrant farm workers in this area of Vermont. We do this by providing them with a transportation network of volunteer drivers, promoting human/civil rights in the community and, eventually, we hope to provide ESL lessons for the workers.
So Wednesday night, I met with Keelia, a fellow SMC student and Blogger, to go on our first drive. She'd gone on Study Abroad last semester, and we talked about living in Europe and the Spanish language on the drive over to the Vermont Worker's Center. Once we finally figured out the directions (it took a minute), we got to the Center towards the end of a meeting about the Secure Communities Act. The meeting, held by the VTMFSP, was to promote community activism, with the goal of making sure that worker's rights are respected. The meeting was all in Spanish, which rocked.
At the end of the meeting, we introduced ourselves to everyone there. Then we met Over, the guy we were driving. He's from Chiapas, Mexico. The ride started out pretty well, we introduced ourselves in Spanish and made some small talk, and then it was quiet for a little while. We weren't really sure what to talk about. Then, when Keelia was about to ask whether to turn or not, Over said, "you can take a left here", in what sounded like really good English.
The rest of the ride was on-and-off conversation, in Spanish and English, but it was clear that Over spoke decent English. And it made me feel like he was the one doing us a favor, speaking in Spanish with us.
So there is something to our name. I've just gotten involved, but that drive the other night and having been at that meeting makes me feel a sense of solidarity or togetherness (juntos-ness? ;p). It's an awesome organization, I'm really excited to be a part of it during my time here!
For any SMC kids who are interested, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I can help get you involved! Or if anyone has questions about the group feel free to ask!