Farmworkers’ average annual income is $11,000, making them the lowest paid workforce in the nation.
SAF Documentary Work
Each summer since 1992, SAF has given students an opportunity to work alongside farmworkers in the rural South. Each student spends 10 weeks working full-time at community-based organizations, and most students also complete a documentary project based on the life of an individual worker they meet in the course of their summer. After the experience is over, many students say that doing documentary work was the most compelling part of their SAF experience; many realize that the chance to make art out of someone’s life is a sacred and rare thing, something that may transform the listener as well as the storyteller. They learn that the most important outcome of their documentary work isn’t necessarily the final product; one could argue it’s the relationships that they develop with the workers they meet. You could say it is the growth that happens to individuals and communities when they create space to begin to understand each other.
By collaborating with farmworkers, SAF students practice the values that form the foundation of SAF’s work. While recording the stories of individuals that our society habitually ignores, they model the spirit of respect and accountability that is crucial to empowerment and real social change. Each project the students complete is an act of resistance against a status quo that ignores the voices of workers and immigrants. In the end, the perspectives of those who have uprooted their lives and risk their livelihoods to come to the United States must be heard.
Host The Nuestras Historias, Nuestros Sueños / Our Stories, Our Dreams Exhibition. For information about hosting the exhibition, contact Joanna Welborn.