This fall, Maya Striuli ’22 completed a semester-long internship with Rural Migrant Ministry in Lyons, N.Y. In the position, Striuli secured a grant to launch a new initiative with the organization, helped coordinate the Rural Women’s Assembly and solidified her interest in immigration law. In total, Striuli contributed more than 140 hours and received a half-credit from the Colleges.
“The Rural Women’s Assembly was held in solidarity with women across New York State. About 30 women gathered in Lyons, N.Y. for a day of empowerment and educational workshops on topics from racism between Latinx and African American communities, financial literacy, domestic violence and more,” says Striuli. “I created a self-care workshop that included facemasks and meditation. It was great to see the women laughing and enjoying being women and taking care of themselves.”
At the assembly, women participated in the “Leadership, Activism and Solidarity” workshop led by HWS Director of Intercultural Affairs Alejandra Molina, which provided an opportunity for dialogue between working women, immigrants and activists.
Striuli says her passion to advocate for immigrants began in high school when she volunteered as a teacher’s assistant in an adult English language class, and later organized a citizenship preparation class with three women from Ecuador, Mexico and Cape Verde.
Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science Rene Rojas connected Striuli to the internship after learning of her interest. Over the course of the semester, Striuli also used her Spanish language proficiency to connect with migrants in RMM’s network.
“I always know that what I am doing has a purpose,” Striuli says.
An exciting component of the experience, Striuli says, was working with the organization following the passing of the N.Y. State Farmworker Bill when the group began outreach with farmworkers to communicate their rights and provide a space for leadership development, educational opportunities and organizing in the upstate N.Y. community.
“At Rural Migrant Ministry, we also focus on telling the stories of people in our community. One way we are doing that is by creating a cookbook of recipes by farmworker women so they can tell their stories through food,” Striuli says. In collaboration with Gabriella Quintanilla, the Western N.Y. Coordinator at Rural Migrant Ministry, Striuli created a grant proposal for the initiative that was selected by Finger Lakes Culinary Bounty to receive $500.
Contact Striuli at email@example.com to learn more about volunteer opportunities with RMM.