1994 Alumni

Jodie Manross

1994 Into the Fields intern
Update from August 2013

I was an Into the Fields Intern in Boone, NC in 1994 with a focus on grant writing and creating better communication between migrant farmworkers, Christmas tree growers, and the Boone community. In 1996, I graduated from Appalachian State University with a Bachelors degree in Cultural Anthropology and Women Studies. After graduating, I became an emergency crisis social worker and GED teacher at Community Action Committee in Knoxville, TN and then a librarian in the Knox County Library System as a children's librarian.

In 2007, I moved to New York City to attend Tri-State College of Acupuncture to pursue a Master's of Science in Clinical Acupuncture. In addition, since college, I also have been a touring singer-songwriter (blues, folk). I have had the honor of opening for artists such as B.B. King, John Mayer, Keb Mo, Leon Russell, Sugarland and Blind Boys of Alabama, had had my music on TV shows such as So You Think You Can Dance, and have four albums of original music (on itunes, amazon, etc.). Now a musician and an acupuncturist back in Knoxville, I am passionate to always use music as a platform to perform on behalf of non-profits and social justice organizations.

SAF’s Into the Fields Internship was an inspiring opportunity for me. Along with meeting such caring, compassionate people, SAF helped me foster a passion for social justice and to always be an advocate for activism and positive change to the community whether through my actions or song.

Lennox McNeary-Keyes

1994 ITF Intern, Franklin C. Fetter Memorial Health Clinic, Yonges Island, SC
Update from December 2008

During my SAF internship at a health clinic in rural South Carolina, I saw many people who did not have access to adequate health care. Many times during those weeks, I felt so helpless when I saw how many patients needed care and how few were getting the attention they truly needed. Throughout my medical training that has followed my SAF experience, I have continued to see patients who are either uninsured or underinsured, and I see how their health negatively impacts their lives on so many levels.

I have recently finished my residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and in my daily practice, I advocate for patients with disabilities. However, I have also remained focused on health disparities at a larger level through my involvement with the National Physicians Alliance. We are a multi-specialty, multi-issue physician organization focused on promoting service, integrity and advocacy in medicine. We believe that health care should be guaranteed, of high quality, affordable and accessible for all. We have created the Secure Health Care For All campaign to encourage our elected leaders to keep health care reform at the top of the national agenda, and we continue to fight for a just, equitable, caring, and effective health care system.  My true love is prevention, so I'm very excited that we are also working on healthy foods initiatives & violence prevention. My work with the NPA, much like my work with SAF, keeps me focused on why I chose to become a physician.

When I'm not at my day job or working on NPA projects, I try to spend time with my husband. He's finishing a fellowship, so it's difficult to find free time together. To add to the mix, we have a new son who arrived a few months early, so that's been keeping us very busy but very happy.

Mitzi Uehara Carter

1994 ITF Intern, Farmworker's Legal Services, Newton Grove, NC
Update from November 2007

I was deeply affected by my experiences with Farmworkers Legal Services. I later finished my undergraduate work with a widened worldview and better understanding of how entrenched racism has been sewn into not just the mentality of some people, but into the fabric of our cultural practices and economy.

Upon graduation, I returned to my hometown in Texas and co-directed an educational organization. I moved on to teaching in rural Japan for a year and then did the same in Puerto Rico. I was in Puerto Rico during the massive calls for civil disobedience to protest the bombing practices and military use of the island of Vieques. I was again moved by the stories of the Viequenses, some of whose stories echoed those of many farmworkers I had met in North Carolina. Those stories of oppression and the everyday realities that require uneasy compromise with an oppressor or those stories that told of the large numbers of people having to move from their home to look for work or move to get better medical care from the toxins from depleted uranium in the bombing left me angry but driven. I was growing weary of these stories of injustice slipping past the mainstream media. I entered graduate school in Anthropology at Berkeley to research militarization and how we make sense of "national security" but after a few years of seminars, I tired of the high theory and the academy and yearned to get back into "the trenches" and work as an activist again. I left school to work at an economic justice organization in New Mexico and then moved back to the Bay Area with a renewed interest in academia and am now finishing my doctoral dissertation on Okinawa, race, and militarization.

I still talk about my experiences in the field to many of my family, colleagues and friends. I am very grateful to SAF for introducing me to so many good people and concepts upon which to build an alternative understanding and hope for the world. I am also grateful to the many farmworkers who opened their lives to us interns.