IN MEMORY OF BETTY WOODS AND WILLIE MAY WILLIAMS
WE MOURN THE LOSS OF TWO FROM OUR COMMUNITY
On Saturday, May 18, former Lake Apopka farmworker, Betty Woods, left this plane of existence for another realm. Some two weeks earlier, we learned the news of the passing of another former Lake Apopka farmworker, Willie May Williams. Both Betty and Willie May had been active for many years with the Farmworker Association of Florida and had been vocal members of the community in the struggle for health care and justice for the farmworkers who worked on and where exposed to pesticides at the Lake Apopka farmlands.
Betty Woods with Wilbert form a singing duoNewspaper articles from 1999 include photos and quotes from Willy May speaking out about the community’s concerns for their health after the unprecedented bird mortality raised the issue of pesticide contamination of wildlife and the environment. Betty Woods has spoken to student groups about her experiences as a farmworker, and has been quoted explaining how much she enjoyed working on the farms, being outside and harvesting the crops that fed America.
At the opening reception of the After the Last Harvest exhibit at the African American Museum of Art in Deland, FL on May 11th, we dedicated the exhibit opening to the memory of Willie May Williams. The loss of these two former farmworkers only emphasizes the importance of, significance of, and relevance of the Lake Apopka Farmworker Memorial Quilt Project to keep the lives, the histories, and the struggles of this community alive.
Today, we dedicate this blog to the memory of these two women whose lives we honor and remember with love, appreciation and respect. We will miss you, Betty and Willy May! And, we will always remember you!