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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Farmworker Association of Florida, the community of South Apopka, and the Lake Apopka farmworker community has lost a long-time friend, FWAF member, former farmworker and advocate for social justice for farmworkers. On August 16, 2013, Louise Benniefield Seay transitioned to another plane of existence, and we all will miss her greatly. This is in memory of Louise Seay.

Louise was born in 1934 in Georgia. After she graduated high school, she and her family moved to Pahokee, FL where she began working in the corn and bean fields of Pahokee and Belle Glade. She moved to Apopka, FL in 1972, and began working at the carrot packing house at Lust and Long Farms on the north shore of Lake Apopka, where she worked until 1988. She was a member of the Farmworker Association for over twenty years, ten of which she served as a member of the FWAF Board of Directors. In 2003, she received an Outstanding Achievement Award for services in the Black Community and with FWAF. She received an award for her dedication to the cause of Justice and Equality for farmworkers in Florida in 2008. More recently, she was recognized with a certificate at the FWAF 30th Anniversary General Assembly in Apopka in March of this year for her years of dedicated support for and work for the rights and dignity of farmworkers.

As one of the longest continuous members of FWAF, Louise left the community with many memories and the satisfication of many accomplishments. We are grateful for the life and work and legacy of Louise Seay and our hearts and thoughts go out to her family.

Ms. Seay is the fourth former Lake Apopka farmworker and community member who has passed away this year. Their passing makes the importance and significance of the Lake Apopka Memorial Quilt Project that much more poignant. We will continue to share the quilts and the stories of the people in whose memory they were created, even as we keep the spirits and stories of the farmworkers alive, even after they have passed from this world.

In Loving Memory of Louise Seay.

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