Telling the Hispanic Farmworkers’ Story – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Telling the Hispanic Farmworkers’ Story

A play written by a Hobart and William Smith Colleges professor, to be presented in Ithaca and Geneva, details the story of migrants working in the Finger Lakes region.

September 25, 2002 GENEVA, N.Y. — For the past several years, Alejandra Molina, assistant professor of modern languages, has been taking her notebook as well as her students into apple orchards, grape vineyards, and onto onion and potato fields. There she interviews the Hispanic migrants, asking them about their lives, families, thoughts and aspirations.

Molina has turned her research into a play that details the plight of the migrant worker. The play titled, “María González,” will be presented by the Teatotaller theater group of Cornell University at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19, at St. Francis De Sales Church, 130 Exchange St., Geneva. Other showings are being scheduled for early-November in Ithaca.

In particular, the play focuses on the plight of the “pueblos fantasma,” the Mexican and Central American towns that serve as the source of migrant labor and which during much of the year are comprised almost entirely of women. Molina’s years of research focuses on Hispanic farmworker women, the community they left behind, the crossing of the border and the establishment of a new community in American soil.

The play is just a small part of the work Molina has done to better inform people about the Hispanic community in the Finger Lakes. Molina coordinates Colleges’ students to mentor middle and high school students, and works with migrant workers to help them obtain their GED. In addition, some of her students are performing puppet shows in English and Spanish for children at the Agribusiness School on Oct. 2 and the Geneva Free Library on Oct. 4. Other students are writing and recording radio public service announcements for and about Latinos.

This fall, Molina is collaborating with the Hispanic Network of the Finger Lakes to organize this year’s Hispanic Heritage events that run through October. For that event, students from the Colleges’ Latin American Organization are building a float to display in the Hispanic Heritage parade in Geneva on Oct. 12.