In the United States there are two to three million farmworkers.
Board & Staff
Program Director | Email
As a Palestinian-American, Nadeen Bir has always been passionate about social justice issues. She was first exposed to farmworker issues as an undergraduate at the College of Charleston, SC. Nadeen has worked to improve living and working conditions for farmworkers with SAF through various outlets- she was an intern in 2002, a board member in 2003, then as the internship coordinator in 2003 and 2004. For almost 5 years, Nadeen worked with El Centro Hispano in Durham, NC as the Director of Youth Programs to improve the lives of Latinos in Durham through education, organizing, and services. In 2009, Nadeen returned to SAF with the goal of involving more students and community members in the struggle for farmworker justice.
Assistant Director | Email
Laxmi Hummel has worked with SAF since participating as an Into the Fields intern in 2001. For over 8 years she co-coordinated SAF's Into the Fields Internship & Sowing Seeds for Change fellowship programs. As Assistant Director she helps manage the organizations finances and policies, coordinates the Solidaridad internship and co-directs the SAF Theater Group. She is from Durham, has a BA in Religious Studies from UNC-Chapel Hill, and has served on the boards of Toxic Free NC and the NC Farmworker Health Program.
Youth Director | Email
Andreina was raised in the small town of Paysandu, Uruguay. At age 12, Andreina immigrated to Greenville, South Carolina, with her family to join her father. Andreina completed her undergraduate degree at Furman University. Upon college graduation, Andreina served as International Outreach Coordinator for the Via College of Medicine where she coordinated health outreach to rural, medically underserved communities in Central America and the Caribbean and in the Appalachian region of the United States. In May of 2016, Andreina completed an M.A. degree in Global Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Some of her activities while in graduate school included co-founding an immigrant, Latinx youth group at Orange High School in Hillsborough, North Carolina, and interning at REDES-Amigos de la Tierra, an environmental justice organization that works on issues relating to food autonomy, rural women, and environmental governance in Uruguay. Andreina is thrilled to be a part of SAF, and excitedly looks forward to learning more about the farmworker's movement from her knowledgeable colleagues, and working with youth from Levante Leadership Institute.
Finance Manager | Email
Cris Rivera is excited to finally join the SAF staff after years of volunteer and board service. As a former auditor and nonprofit consultant, overseeing the general accounting and finances of a stable social justice organization is a dream come true. Born in Manila, Cris was raised in Southern Maryland and came to NC twenty plus years ago to attend Duke. When not producing financial statements, Cris passes the time making quirky online videos, playing the mandolin, participating in wonky policy discussions, and serving as ad hoc parish chef for First Presbyterian Church of Durham.
Communications Arts Director | Email
Joanna Welborn was born and raised in the foothills of Western North Carolina. While studying Sociology and Spanish at Appalachian State University, she participated in the Into the Fields Internship in 1996. She studied documentary photography at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Maine and at Duke's Center for Documentary Studies and continues to do documentary and fine art photography. Joanna served as SAF's Assistant Director for 5 years before moving into the position of Communications Arts Director, where she coordinates SAF's alumni program, communications, and documentary work.
Executive Director | Email
Melinda Wiggins has served as the Executive Director of Student Action with Farmworkers (SAF) since 1996. Before that time, she coordinated SAF's Into the Fields summer internship program for several years. She got involved with the farmworker movement as a SAF intern with the Episcopal Farmworker Ministry during the summer of 1993. Melinda is active with many immigrant and farmworker rights coalitions, including the Adelante Education Coalition, Farmworker Advocacy Network, and Farmworker Ministry Committee, as well as several social justice groups such as Zomppa and the Wincall Residency Program. Melinda is the granddaughter of sharecroppers who grew up in a rural farming community in the Mississippi Delta. She moved to North Carolina in 1992 to pursue a Masters of Theological Studies at Duke University.
Program Director | Email
Ramon Zepeda joined SAF as the Youth Organizer at the end 2011. Ramon was born in a small farming town in the state of Jalisco, Mexico. At the age of 10 he moved to Los Angeles, CA to join his family and lived there until migrating to North Carolina in 2002. Ramon participated in SAF’s Levante youth program when he was a senior at Hoke County High School and helped to start an AIM Club for migrant students. In 2005, while studying Sociology at UNC-Pembroke, he participated in SAF’s Into the Fields Internship Program, working at the Western North Carolina Workers’ Center, where he was exposed to the struggles that workers face when they try to organize for better working conditions, dignity, and respect on the job. After graduating college in 2008, Ramon joined the labor movement as a union organizer and worked on campaigns such as the Justice at Smithfield Campaign, in solidarity with workers in a North Carolina pork processing plant, and a Wage Theft Campaign, in solidarity with day laborers in Washington DC. In addition, Ramon has served on SAF’s board of directors and has participated in alumni focus groups.
SAF Board of Directors
Guadalupe Arce-Jimenez– Durham Co. Coop Extension & Project Build
Angeline Echeverría– El Pueblo Inc.
Lucero Galván– Quintiles
Coby Jansen Austin– Orange County Health Department
Mary Johnson Rockers– NC Farmworker Health Program, NC Office of Rural Health & Community Care
Tony Macias– Freelance Interpreter; Research Square
Quadiriah S McCullough– Center for Documentary Studies
Jose Morales– Staybridge Suites
Andrea Robinson Kells– McGuire Woods, LLP
Irving Zavaleta Jimenez– Guilford College