Hands that Speak: Voices from the Upper Valley Dairy Farms

Book Presentation "Hands that Speak: Voices From the Upper Valley Dairy Farms" and Photography Exhibition "Behind the Hands" by photographer Jorge Carlos Álvarez, Friday, May 27th, 5:30 pm, Orozco Room, Baker Library

Hands that Speak: Voices from the Upper Valley Dairy Farms is a bilingual collection of investigative journalism reports, story-based inquiry, critical essays, and photo documentation about the migrant workers who labor at six dairy farms in the Upper Valley and Franklin County.  The book reveals the ways in which the migrant workers, who are our neighbors and yet who are often distanced by intercultural and linguistic barriers, have sought to build a sense of community.  It also makes visible this essential workforce, with a deeper understanding of the vulnerabilities, inequities, and challenges that they face on a daily basis.

This journalistic research project, highlights the social impact of FUERZA Farmworkers' Fund (FFF), conceived during the COVID-19 pandemic by three Dartmouth students and the author. It explores the breadth and depth of FFF and how it has assisted in supporting the livelihoods and well-being of migrant communities during a period of intensified isolation. 

In Hands that Speak: Voices from the Upper Valley Dairy Farms, three narratives converge. That is to say, the voices of three hands that speak. One, the personal narrative of migrant dairy farmworkers: their lives, their stories, their migratory anxieties. They are the protagonists of this work. The second, the narrative of the FUERZA Farmworkers' Fund organization: its conception, its birth, its development, and its hands that speak of the labor of building horizontal relationships with the friends of the dairy farms, non-paternalistically, foreign to the legitimization of hierarchies and welfare. Lastly, the hands that speak that are presented to us in the photographs of Jorge Carlos Álvarez, with a visual narrative in constant motion.