It’s been a whirlwind for the Lake Apopka Farmworker Memorial Quilt Project lately!
First, Jeannie Economos, Pesticide Safety and Environmental Health Project Coordinator, was featured on WPRK Radio, the official Rollins College Radio Station. Along with Notre Dame AmeriCorps Volunteer for the Farmworker Association, Becky Wilson, Jeannie shared the history of Lake Apopka farmworkers, and the legacy of pesticide contamination that affects the lives every day of people in the farmworker community. She also shared some of the ways that listeners to the program, “A Dialogue with VOICE,” can volunteer and get involved. VOICE is a unique educational and service program that utilizes the special talents of older adult volunteers in Central Florida to address local community issues. It was an awesome opportunity for FWAF to connect with the work VOICE is doing, and to share the injustice faced by the former farmworkers of Lake Apopka with a wide audience in Winter Park, FL.
The story of Lake Apopka Farmworkers was also shared with the Democratic Black Caucus in Leesburg. Linda Lee, former Lake Apopka muck farmworker and Lake Apopka Farmworker Memorial Quilt maker shared with the group her personal history of loss on the shores of Lake Apopka. The group was moved by her story and learned a great deal about environmental racism, farm work, and pesticides.
A few days later, University of Florida and Florida State University law students stand on the shore of Lake Apopka, while learning about the effects pesticides have had on the lake and the people in the community. The students also learned about the history of pesticide exposure and abuse in the fields for farmworkers. The students appreciated a local history lesson and engaged in interesting and deep discussions around the injustices faced in the community.
It’s been a busy time for the Lake Apopka Memorial Quilt Project, and we’ve been overjoyed to have so many diverse opportunities to share such important histories with the community.