Anne serves Haitian farmworkers in Central Florida to improve work-related social determinants of health.
Farmworkers comprise one of the most integral workforces in the United States, but they are also among the most abused and underrepresented workers. In Florida, 40% of farmworkers are Haitian. Due to language barriers and their smaller population, Haitian farmworkers have difficulties accessing legal aid and face unique barriers to healthcare access, including unfamiliarity with preventative medicine, concerns about the safety of Western pharmacological medicine, and mistrust of the public health system. Anne works to help remove the barriers that cause the Haitian community to go without the legal aid that they need. Her community has been an instrumental part of her life, and her dream is to serve this community by representing Haitian farmworkers.
Through previous advocacy efforts and developing this project, Anne was reminded that the Haitian-Creole-speaking farmworker community is not a priority in Central Florida. Time and time again, Anne was told that this community lacks resources and research because they are smaller than other immigrant populations in Central Florida. Anne hopes this sentiment ends with her. Anne aspires to help remove the barriers that cause the Haitian community to go without the legal aid that they need. Her community has been an instrumental part of her life, and her dream is to serve this community by representing Haitian farmworkers with their legal claims.
Fellowship Highlights to Date
During the first year of the Fellowship, Anne has:
- Providing full representation to 12 clients and brief services, advice, and/or referrals to over 85 individuals
- Conducted over 25 presentations and meetings with organizations and health clinics regarding the work of the project
- Collaborating with the Polk County Public Schools Migrant Education program and the Florida Division of Emergency Management to encourage free vaccinations, enroll migrant children in school, and provide free legal information about Temporary Protected Status for the Haitian community
- Successfully advocated, in partnership with other organizations, for the re-launch of the Farmworker Advisory Council in Florida, which will be comprised of farmworkers and advocates and will advise local and state leaders on issues like COVID-19 testing, vaccine access, and heat illness in the community
- Participating in the University of Central Florida (UCF) Farmworker clinic
- Collaborating with local 362, an affiliate of UNITE HERE, a union representing workers throughout North America, including on their annual citizenship clinic
In the next year, Anne plans to:
- Continue to develop relationships with community organizations, local universities, and pro bono attorneys
- Host two legal clinics
- Host two Know Your Rights trainings, with a focus on expanding legal services to Haitian-Creole farmworkers who have never received services
“L'union fait la force”—which means unity is strength—is Haiti’s national motto. As a Haitian-American woman and child of Haitian immigrants, I am driven to not simply give back, but to help create change to better the lives of Haitian farmworkers.
Anne Piervil /
2020 Equal Justice Works Fellow