40th Anniversary Gala Weekend captures the essence of Rural & Migrant Ministry
You can see from the photos the amazing array of people involved in carrying out our Mission and, together, bringing about justice in rural New York State. There were farmworkers, union leaders, academics and a psalter of Bishops. We welcomed children, youth, elders and everyone in between, representing a diversity of racial, cultural, religious backgrounds and regions.
The Gala served to remind us of the foundation on which RMM was established, and thanks to you, we have a remarkable and powerful history to build upon as we move forward.
Our anniversary year brought many accomplishments, including two major goals that were achieved in the midst of the pandemic:
- We have fully moved into the Grail, our new home in Cornwall on Hudson. This beautiful 44-acre campus is the actualization of a long-held dream of RMM’s. We now have a Center where everyone is welcome, where workers and allies from across the State can gather at the same table and where the people of RMMcan feel at home.
The Grail will be the hub that supports the vital work of our three regional Centers in the Catskills, the Finger Lakes and on Long Island. Looking at where we are now, it’s hard to believe that 40 years ago the whole of RMM was stuffed into one room.
- After more than 20 years of shepherding the Justice for Farmworkers Campaign and witnessing the historic passage of the Farm Laborers Fair Labor Practices Act in 2019, we began partnering with unions to assist in reaching workers and bringing them to the bargaining table. In October, at the peak of the harvest season, we witnessed the first farmworker union in New York State become a reality, as the workers at Pindar Vineyard and Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW were certified to bargain collectively. We are truly looking forward to the future as we expand upon these and many other accomplishments. There are hundreds upon thousands of workers across rural New York whose voices must be heard in the crafting of decisions that impact their lives. The workers at Pindar Vineyard are the first to achieve this, but they will not be the last.
Alongside them, there are thousands of rural children who are reeling from the pandemic as their families try to regain their footing. RMM is determined to continue to stand with these workers and their families.
- Our Youth Empowerment Program is slowly coming back together in person—fully engaging and empowering youth across the state through the arts, entrepreneurship and mutual support.
- Our Centers are working with men, women and children to create worker cooperatives that give them greater control over their lives, as well as distribute essential information on labor law, pandemic safety and our Rural Academy of the People.
- At the Grail we will welcome interns, seminarians, artists and union leaders to support these efforts and nurture the next generation of leaders.
As always, we face many barriers. Rural New York is easily out of sight and, therefore, easily out of mind. Coming out of the pandemic continues to be an arduous task. Many of you gave generously last year at the height of the virus. We are asking that you continue to contribute, and if possible, to increase your support to cover those who are unable to continue supporting RMM.
We also ask that you introduce us to your friends and colleagues, inviting them to get to know us and to join the RMM movement. Every year, as more people learn of RMMand the work we have done and continue to do, the RMMfamily grows. So while we face many challenges, we face even greater opportunities and your support will help us live into them.
Please, join us as we continue on this journey toward a more just and dignified New York State for all. It takes collaboration to get things done, and your support over the years has proven just that. Making a donation to RMM empowers us to do the necessary work of making space for rural and migrant communities, ensuring that our sisters and brothers throughout the state are seen, heard and celebrated.
Without your support the work cannot be done, but with it, progress for all New Yorkers cannot be stopped.