Our group’s partnership is with PCUN (Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste), an organization founded in the Willamette Valley that focuses on protecting and representing the interests of the Latinx community, especially advocating for farmworkers. Through its sub-groups PCUN pursues many goals, such as community outreach, lobbying, collective bargaining rights, protecting workplace safety, and more. It also focuses on empowering Latinx working families to be politically engaged. Our partnership record includes the actor network that we created, which is useful to consider especially in the context of understanding the “what,” “who,” and “how” of our project.
The project that we have decided to pursue is the idea of a “language exchange” that we could do in collaboration with PCUN. By offering opportunities for both Spanish and English language instruction, we hope to work on breaking down language barriers and thus facilitating communication and engagement between different groups of stakeholders. In considering the “who” of our project, we found the article “A framework to implement Stakeholder participation in environmental projects” helpful. This paper goes through the process of stakeholder identification, characterisation, structuring, participation, and evaluation. This framework would be useful in designing and implementing our project.
One point from this article that stood out was the recommendation that “The list of stakeholders obtained through this brainstorming is then submitted to one of the identified stakeholders, soliciting his/her opinion and allowing him/her to add further stakeholders.” Ideally, we would like to go through this process with our project in order to get feedback from PCUN, but unfortunately we have not been able to establish a reliable line of communication with them, especially due to the current coronavirus crisis that has undoubtedly affected the organization.
This means that in brainstorming our project, we are relying on our own research and understanding of the organization and its goals. In actually implementing the project some adjustment would likely be necessary according to input from PCUN. In identifying the “who” of our project we considered our actor network and PCUN’s publications. Since our project revolves around language, we would have two main groups of participants: native Spanish speakers who would benefit from English language education and discussion, and native English speakers who would benefit from the same engagement with Spanish language and speakers. The first group would focus on the Latinx community with which PCUN engages, particularly farmworkers. We hope that by breaking down the language barrier, this could empower farmworkers to be able to more effectively communicate their needs.
The latter group may be open to the greater agricultural community of the Willamette Valley. As the interests of these groups do come into conflict, particularly around PCUN’s work, we hope that addressing language will allow for greater dialogue between these stakeholders. For example, it would be good to get stakeholders such as farm owners or members of the Oregon Farm Bureau involved. With input from stakeholders and thoughtful implementation of our project, we feel that there is a lot of potential for opening up communication between these groups and hopefully allowing for engagement on a deeper level.
Luyet, Vincent, Rodolphe Schlaepfer, Marc B. Parlange, and Alexandre Buttler. 2012. “A Framework to Implement Stakeholder Participation in Environmental Projects.” Journal of Environmental Management 111 (November): 213–19. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2012.06.026.