Community Engagement News
Community Engagement Community Engagement News December 13, 2021
Students Rally in Support of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ Fair Food Program
Demonstrators march back and forth in front of a North Miami Wendy’s, agitating for a better deal for farmworkers. They hour-long demonstration involved students from Barry and elsewhere.
Barry students recently rallied in support of fair food—a campaign led by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) and supported by the Student/Farmworker Alliance.
The students gathered at Enchanted Forest Elaine Gordon Park in North Miami and then made their way to a Wendy's restaurant on Biscayne Boulevard for the Fair Food Action. They protested the refusal of the fast-food chain’s parent company to join the Fair Food Program.
As the small group of placard-bearing protestors marched back and forth on the sidewalks, they sent a strong message that the Wendy’s Company should show concern for farmworkers’ human rights by signing on to the Fair Food Program. Until then, the protestors want the public at large to boycott the restaurant chain.
On November 20, as a Week of Action targeting Wendy’s drew to a close, Barry students like Karol Maldonado wanted to do their part to bring attention to “the injustice” that farmworkers are facing.
“We have to let Wendy’s know that they need to join the Fair Food Program,” Maldonado emphasized. She led some of the social justice-themed chants during the demonstration.
Students taking part in the hour-long demonstration included undergraduates who, like Maldonado, were taking a service-learning course with Dr. Pawena (Winnie) Sirimangkala, an associate professor of communication. Prominent among the demonstrators were Barry Service Corps (BSC) Fellows, including Isabel Pulgarin.
CIW staff members and allies, as well as a few students from other universities, joined the Barry group. A small delegation met briefly with the restaurant manager to explain the purpose of the protest and to seek support.
Students and Student/Farmworker Alliance members draw attention to the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ Fair Food Program, emphasizing the need for fair wages, respect, and justice. They particularly want Wendy’s to join Subway, Whole Foods, Walmart, and other food retailers as partners in the social responsibility program.
BSC Fellow Ulises Hernandez did what program alumni like Quayneshia Smith and Paris Razor did when they were student leaders at Barry. He did much of the groundwork for staging the public protest action against Wendy’s.
“The manager from Wendy's was compassionate and open-minded when we reached out to her,” said Hernandez. “Our message got across when the manager sent a video of our demonstration to [the] corporate [office].”
The CIW is a worker-based human rights organization internationally recognized for its achievements in the fields of social responsibility, human trafficking, and gender-based violence at work.
“It is important to support the Coalition of Immokalee Workers because they [seek to] hold companies accountable for the inequitable wages paid and poor working conditions experienced by farmworkers,” Hernandez said. “This organization does a great job in networking with other groups to advocate for worker-based rights. The Fair Food Program educates people that buy agriculturally based products on the issue of farm labor exploitation.”
Launched in 2011, the CIW’s Fair Food Program is regarded as a groundbreaking model for worker-driven social responsibility based on a unique partnership among farmworkers, Florida tomato growers, and participating retail buyers such as Subway, Whole Foods, and Walmart. Participating buyers pay a small premium that tomato growers pass on to workers as a line-item bonus on their regular paychecks.
Hernandez, the main organizer of the demonstration, said it was a valuable learning experience for him. “I can take this experience with me moving forward and expand on what I learned,” he noted.
Afghan Refugee Families Receive a Warm Welcome and More from a School of Education Group
Afghan refugees gathered on a Doral hotel lawn, where they spent an afternoon with a group of students and faculty members from Barry’s School of Education.
They will soon be settling into their new homes and starting new lives in South Florida—scores of refugee families from war-torn Afghanistan.
Some 10 of those families got a warm welcome, and a few gifts, from a group of Barry University students and faculty members who spent an afternoon with them in Doral the other day.
When students taking TSL 400, a language-related education course, went to visit the newcomers, they took with them a welcoming spirit and gifts of clothes, shoes, coloring books and crayons, snack items, and more.
Sitting on blankets on a hotel lawn, the recent arrivals and the Barry group had something to eat and drink. The event hosts struck up conversations, listened to stories of life in Afghanistan, and played with the children. Moreover, the college students modeled and practiced greetings and introductions, demonstrated the use of survival words, and engaged the children in repeating and attempting to sing the English alphabet.
As the Barry group ended their visit on November 30, the event guests expressed their gratitude and their hope for further interactions.
With the 10 undergraduates—Meagan Carballo, Jainette Figuerola, Ta’niya Foster, Alessa Hernandez, Ruby Lopez, Jackeline Miranda, Jillian Rodriguez, Jasmine Shackleford, Ashley Taylor, and Najaz Williams—were their professor, Dr. Ruth Ban, and an associate dean of the School of Education, Dr. Lilia DiBello.
Dr. Heather Johnson Desiral, the CCSI’s experiential learning facilitator, accompanied the students and faculty.
This semester, the Barry students who spent time with recent arrivals from war-torn Afghanistan studied issues and strategies related to English for speakers of other languages.
TSL 400—ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) Issues and Strategies—is a School of Education course that carries the PSR (personal and social responsibility) designation.
The resettling refugees are receiving support from Church World Service (CWS) South Florida. A Barry community partner, CWS South Florida is a refugee resettlement agency whose Miami office is in Doral.
Refugees from Afghanistan are coming to the United States as part Operation Allies Welcome. The largest U.S. refugee resettlement program in decades, it has already resettled more than 37,000 Afghans.
Reports say more than 35,000 Afghan refugees are still being held in six military bases as Operation Allies Welcome attempts to relocate them.
Typography Students Bring Early Holiday Cheer to Nursing Home Residents: A Pictorial Report
Students completing ART 335, a typography course, brought early holiday cheer to residents of the Shoreside Health and Rehabilitation Center. The students translated words used by individual residents into typographic portraits that each participating resident received last Tuesday (Dec. 7). Pictured immediately above, L–R, are Dyck Dorlean, Isabel Pulgarin, Mara Garcia, Ajda Bukovec, and Brian Guerrero with their professor, Nicky Beltran, showing off one of her student’s design work.
Cristo Rey Miami High School is Barry’s Newest Community Partner
Cristo Rey Miami High School is Barry University’s newest community partner. The North Miami school campus is set to open soon near Barry’s main campus.
The school is described as “a Catholic learning community that educates young people of limited economic means to become men and women of faith, purpose, and service.”
According to the school profile, “Through a rigorous college preparatory curriculum, integrated with a relevant work-study experience, students graduate ready to succeed in college and in life.”
The motto of Cristo Rey Miami is “The School That Works.”
Book Review Examines Higher Education’s Civic Engagement Role
A just-published book review by Barry CCSI’s Glenn A. Bowen examines the role of higher education in promoting civic engagement and helping to sustain American democracy.
“College and University Leaders Promoting Recommitment to the Civic Purpose of Higher Education” is a review of the book, “Democracy, Civic Engagement, and Citizenship in Higher Education: Reclaiming Our Civic Purpose,” edited by William V. Flores and Katrina S. Rogers. This volume of essays reflects the contributions of institutional leaders and other key players, and it covers a range of topics pertinent to the civic role of college and universities.
Dr. Bowen’s book review appears in the Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning (MJCSL), volume 27, number 2. The article is available at the journal’s website <https://doi.org/10.3998/mjcsloa.3239521.0027.206>.
MJCSL is one of the leading journals in the service-learning/community engagement field. The journal focuses on research, theory, pedagogy, and other matters related to service-learning, campus–community partnerships, and engaged/public scholarship in higher education.
Engaged Department is One of Seven Categories of Awards for Community Engagement
Engaged Department is one of seven categories of community engagement awards for which nominations are being accepted.
The Engaged Department Award is presented to a department (within a division, college, or school) for achievements in advancing the community engagement goals of the university, educating students for civic and social responsibility, and improving community life. Departments in which faculty and staff members engage in significant community/public service, individually or collectively with students, are prime candidates for this award.
An academic unit that is not structured along departmental lines may be considered for this award.
Students, faculty and staff members, and community partners are invited to submit nominations by the last Friday of January.
The 2021 winner of the Engaged Department Award was the Andreas School of Business.
Previous winners were the Center for Earth Jurisprudence in 2020; the College of Nursing and Health Sciences’ Graduate and Undergraduate Nursing in 2019; the School of Law in 2018; the Department of Communication in 2017; the Department of Physical Sciences and the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences in 2016; the School of Social Work in 2015; and the Department of Sociology and Criminology in 2014.
The CCSI will host Barry’s Ninth Annual Community Engagement Awards Ceremony on March 30.
Nominations are being accepted also in six other categories: Community Impact, Community Partnerships, Community-Based Research, Community-Engaged Scholarship, Community Engagement Educator, and Service-Learning Faculty.
Copies of BarryEngage are available from the CCSI.