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be the change

teacher, activist, global citizen


Edited By Rita Verma

This book examines the ways young people engage in action, dialogue, and activism, and how they become global citizens. The essays in the book illustrate how young people with deep convictions on how to change the world make a difference in their communities. The community becomes the classroom, and their activism the true lesson. Possible «utopias» are realized with every effort to engage in activism, to be an advocate for both oneself and others, and with each critical engagement with oppression. These young activists are the unsung heroes and theirs are the victories in current educational debates. Moving away from theoretical debates on multicultural and progressive education, this book illustrates how youth action, curriculum strategies and creative writing, service learning projects, advocacy work at community-based and grassroots organizations, and global initiatives can result in real-life victories.


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Part Three: Youth Activism, Empowermentand Listening to Student Voice 135


• P A R T T H R E E • Youth Activism, Empowerment, and Listening to Student Voice • C H A P T E R E L E V E N • Harvesting Victory: Education, Student/Farmworker Solidarity, and the Growth of an Organizing Model Melody González, Natasha Noriega-Goodwin, Marc Rodrigues, Jorge Rodríguez, Marina Sáenz-Luna, Sean Sellers, John-Michael Torres, Kandace Vallejo On May 23, 2008, farmworkers and student activists gathered with corporate executives, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (Vermont), and dozens of members of the local and national media for a standing room-only press conference under the dome of the U.S. Capitol announcing an accord between the Burger King fast food corporation and a Florida farmworker organization, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW). Weeks earlier, Burger King made headlines when a spate of malicious Internet postings defaming the CIW and its supporters were traced back to a company executive, and news surfaced that the company hired an unlicensed private investigator to infiltrate and spy on the CIW’s key ally organization, the Student/Farmworker Alliance (SFA) (Schlosser, 2008). Established in 2001 as a loose network of Florida college students, SFA evolved—through a program of intense education, action seizing, and strategic positioning by students and youth on the corporate food supply chain—into a formidable, diverse national organization. The work of SFA played no small part in forcing Burger King to pivot from a position of antagonism to partnership with the CIW and the thousands of tomato pickers it represents, and SFA has...

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