Laboring for Wayne County’s Workers – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Laboring for Wayne County’s Workers

Tim Carter ’12 may be staying in Geneva for the summer, but his internship has taken him worlds away from the HWS campus.  Carter, a philosophy and creative writing student, is spending his summer at the western branch of the Rural and Migrant Ministry (RMM) located in Lyons, N.Y. The non-profit organization, with offices throughout New York State, seeks to aid and empower migrant farmworkers as they seek equal working rights.

During the course of the summer, Carter will have numerous tasks at the office, but will focus most of his attention on the Justice for Farmworkers Campaign. Through the campaign, Carter and his co-workers will strive to build and foster good relations with the local police force in Lyons. He will also help organize a two-week day camp for middle and high school students whose parents are farmworkers.

Although this particular job might seem unusual for a creative writing student, stepping into this important work was part of a natural progression for Carter.

“I helped coordinate a series of Alternative Spring Break trips this semester – one of which was with the Rural Migrant Ministry,” says Carter. “I attended the trip and absolutely loved it.  Afterward, I applied for an internship – and here I am.”

Prior to beginning his internship, Carter found that his coursework on campus helped prepare him for the daily challenges at the RMM. Not only did his time in the HWS Teacher Education Program ready him for working with middle and high school students as part of the day camp, but the philosophy course “Power, Privilege and Knowledge,” has proved very useful.

“The class was a great philosophical introduction to the issues of discrimination and social justice that I’ll be facing this summer,” explains Carter.

The internship has also helped Carter to become more connected to the Geneva and Wayne County communities, introducing him to a world he was not fully aware of – that of farmworkers. “I think a lot of HWS students would be surprised to find that there’s a large population in Geneva, and that there’s a lot of small organizations dedicated to helping them,” remarks Carter. “Getting to know individual farmworkers and their families has been a great pleasure.”

In the short time that Carter has been interning for the RMM, he has come to realize that this not simply a summer job – it is a full time commitment has real effects on the community and in the lives of others. “I’m not just stuffing envelopes and fetching coffee or other grunt-work labors,” explains Carter. “I’m in the thick of things with people who have made this their life’s work.  People are counting on me.”

In the photo above, Carter participated in a Slam Poetry reading in the Blackwell room held during the Spring semester.