Meet the 2016 Steering Committee!
Amanda Ferguson (22) was born and raised in the state of Ohio and is of Filipino heritage. She lives in the Columbus area where she will continue to organize at Ohio State and within the outer community with Ohio Fair Food to put the heat on Wendy’s right in their hometown. After learning about the Campaign for Fair Food, Amanda attended the 2014 Encuentro and was committed ever since. She has always been involved with activism on various levels with queer and environmental issues, but this campaign specifically struck a specific cord with her agricultural background. Amanda would like to conduct work that helps create a more sustainable food system that ensures the needs of all involved within that system, both consumers and producers. She is inspired by the amazing people she has met within this movement, and impassioned to continue building, working and learning with them for collective liberation. She is honored to be a part of the 2016 Steering Committee.
Angel Morales was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela. He moved to the United States in 2006. He recently graduated from Manhattanville College. He grew up in a household where activism and politics were always being discussed. He started his own activism at the Connie Hogarth Center for Social Action at Manhattanville College, and it was here where he was introduced to the Student/Farmworker Alliance. He attended the 2014 Encuentro and was captivated by the level of organizing and leadership in the organization. In addition to his Fair Food activism, Angel has also organized events on and off his campus dealing with police brutality, mass incarceration and climate change. Angel loves spending time exploring NYC, hiking, traveling and eating as many types of food as he can get. He is thrilled to be part of the 2016 SC!
Anna Hankins is a current student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Anna is also student organizer with the Real Food Challenge. She is studying food systems, both in the classroom and far outside its walls. More accurately, Anna is living in the youth food movement and finds herself enthralled with every facet of this work. Anna is also actively involved in campaigns for affordable (free) higher education in MA, anti-racist organizing, as well as labor justice initiatives in the Pioneer Valley. In her spare time she enjoys eating aged cheddar, cooking food for friends, reading lots of books, and listening to spoken word poetry. She is so excited and honored to deepen her work with the CIW and SFA network and is ready to more actively support a Fair Food Nation!
Ben Wibking is a graduate student at The Ohio State University and is proud to be organizing with youth and students and people of faith in Columbus as part of Ohio Fair Food and OSU Student/Farmworker Alliance. Before moving to Ohio, he was a coordinating committee member and volunteer organizer with Nashville Fair Food and with Workers' Dignity/Dignidad Obrera workers' center in Nashville. He also enjoys cooking Southern and not-so-Southern food, drinking tea, photography, and listening to indie bands.
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Cecilia Ojeda Behgam is a Texan currently living in Washington, DC. In her youth, she spent much of her time working at her family’s Tex-Mex restaurant in Dallas. She lived in Providence, Rhode Island for four years while attending Brown University, where she received a BA in Environmental Studies. In her final semester on campus, she saw a presentation by a CIW member and was immediately interested in working in solidarity with the movement. She interned with the Alliance for Fair Food in the fall of 2015, and she is humbled and energized by the privilege to be a member of the 2016 Steering Committee.
Fatima Estrada-Rascon lives in Denver, CO and recently graduated from Regis University. At a young age she saw the need for change and developed an interest in working for social justice and building power in her community. While working with a grassroots organization for immigrant rights, she heard about the work of Denver Fair Food. Though it was hard to fully conceptualize the Fair Food Movement at first, she signed up to join a group of her peers and community members to march in the 2013 spring action "200 Mile March for Rights, Respect, and Fair Food". At this march, Fatima's life changed forever... Year after year, Fatima has stayed committed to organizing for Fair Food and coming back to Immokalee because of the inspiration and hope that she has found in the farmworker-led movement as well as all of the amazing people she has met who have committed themselves to fight for change.
Gabriela Quintanilla was born in El Salvador, and migrated to the U.S. when she was 13 years old. She studies Sociology and Political Science at Stony Brook University and will be graduating in 2016. Throughout her time at Stony Brook, she became involved as a social justice activist and community organizer through Rural & Migrant Ministry. She has helped coordinated northeast buses with SFA network, mobilized rallies in her community, and designed workshops to amplify the voices of undocumented students and farmworkers. Most recently, she is working on launching a seven-day summer program for undocumented students, ADELANTE, in the Hudson Valley area of NY. She values honesty, transparency, and positivity. She is looking forward to be part of the 2016 SC and further her organizing skills to advance the farmworker justice movement. She feels privileged to work alongside with the CIW and passionate students and youth across the country. Gabriela can be intense when it comes to meeting her goals and creating social justice, but she is always down to #TurnUp4Justice! She enjoys traveling, exercising, eating healthy and most of all sleeping!
Jabari Mickles has been community organizing for 3 years. He began his organizing efforts in 2013, with the organization Dream Defenders. Most of his work has revolved around working class people becoming self-sustainable, and improving living conditions. He started a farm with student groups at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, and then began to network with black and brown student farmers all throughout the East Coast. When learning about the CIW and SFA, Jabari began to study their strategy, and ability to build with community, in order to fully understand how these organizations benefit people’s immediate needs. He has always believed that it is important to challenge the system, while also allowing people to change their immediate needs, through his organizing.
Kim Daley was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. She attended Duquesne University and graduated in 2012. She is a Ph.D. student studying chemistry at the University of Michigan. At Duquesne, she became involved with the Campaign for Fair Food through Campus Ministry. She was given the opportunity to go to Immokalee in 2011. There, she attended a demonstration at the end of the 'Do the Right Thing Tour', which really changed her perspective on her role in social movements and what it means to work in solidarity with groups like the CIW. Since then, she has been given the opportunity to go back to Immokalee in 2012 and 2013 for various actions, and again in 2014 for the Encuentro. Currently, she is trying to Boot the Braids off the U of M campus and is part of Real Food Challenge. Kim likes traveling, running marathons, playing board games, and everything science fiction. She is honored to serve on the 2016.
Nico Gumbs is a 5th generation Florida native – how many people can say that, eh? – originally hailing from Homestead but now resides in Orlando. Currently, Nico works for the National Farm Worker Ministry as the YAYA coordinator where they’ve been able to dive deep into the roots of the farm worker movement through organizing young people to stand in solidarity with farm workers across the U.S. Nico first heard about the Campaign for Fair Food during their final undergraduate year at UCF which quickly led them to quit their job at Publix, as a produce clerk, and join the 2011 “Do the Right Thing” tour in Tampa. Nico has been involved in the agriculture sector for a good portion of their life, from growing up on a farm in Eastern NC to running through their great grandfather’s avocado grove in Homestead to serving 8 years in Future Farmers of America – it’s literally in their blood. Outside of farm worker and youth organizing, you can most likely find Nico in the gym, outside running, behind a good book, listening to music, or advocating for transgender liberation among other social justice causes. Nico uses they/them/their pronouns.
Pamela Escalante was born in Monterrey, Mexico and has grown up in the Midwest. She is a junior in college (class of 2017), studying International Politics and International Law, where she was introduced to the CIW by fellow SFAers in the spring of 2014. If you ask Pam, she will proudly tell you that her introduction to and involvement with the SFA and CIW have been pivotal experiences that have since shaped both her sense of identity and life goals. Working with the SFA has challenged her to think more critically about social justice and how to create systematic change. The greatest lesson that Pam has taken from the SFA, and one that she hopes to spread to others both in the SFA and outside of it, is the lesson of allyship: what it means to be at the forefront of a movement, a part of its momentum, and the grey area between the two. Pam is passionate about the intersectional analysis of social justice, particularly within the farmworker movement, and thinks that it is truly important for people to be unafraid to think about issues of social justice outside of the SFA. She is incredibly excited and honored to be a part of the SC, and looks forward to learning, being challenged and growing as a member of the movement. Pam is devoted to living out the lessons of the SFA and CIW, and applying them to other social justice movements. Outside of the SFA and CIW, Pam loves to read radical works by women of color, and aspires to one day co-author an anthology of queer women of color.
Priscilla Velez grew up in “la isla del encanto”, Puerto Rico. In 2012, she moved to Lakeland, Florida, where she is currently studying Literature in Southeastern University. After spending the summer of 2015 living in Immokalee and interning with the Alliance for Fair Food, she was deeply inspired by the powerful farmworker leaders of the movement. Working with the conscious, driven, and passionate network of SFA has been a dream come true for her. Priscilla is excited to strengthen the Fair Food presence in Lakeland, as she continues to organize with students, youth, and people of faith in her community. She enjoys poetry readings, salsa dancing, singing, and spending time with her friends and big Cuban family. She is honored to be a part of the 2016 Steering Committee!
Quayneshia Smith was born and raised in Florida and is African American. She is in her junior year at Barry University doing her Bachelor's in Social Work and a minor in Psychology. Through her Fellowship with Barry's Center for Community Service Initiative she has been partnering up with SFA since 2014. Because of the skills she have learn while being involved in the Campaign for Fair Food she now has an even bigger passion for community organizing and social justice work. She spends the rest of her time binge watching Netflix shows, having out door adventures and procrastinating over school papers. She is very excited to be a part of the Steering Committee this year!