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Ashley Montgomery, Bill Santina Sabarre,


Alex Stepanov, Esther Valverde,
Tatiana Zuniga
Dr. Rios
ENC 3331
1 May
Wake and Restore the Lake!:
A Campaign for Environmental Justice
Model of Civic Engagement
Lake Apopka in Apopka, Florida is a pesticide-filled wasteland. Since the 1940s, runoff
from nearby farms has spilled toxic chemicals such as toxaphene, endrin, aldrin, dieldrin into
the lake (Barry, What Poisoned the Farmworkers...?). Wake and Restore the Lake (WRL) is an
environmental justice campaign to raise awareness of the issues produced by these toxins, as
well as raise money to help those residents affected by the chemicals with their medical bills. We
took an environmental justice approach because of the harmful effects on the environment. It hits

Photo by: Pangea Adventure Racing

home to our community partners because it is located in the town they live in.

In addition to the harmful effects the lake has on the environment, it is also harming
people, creating illnesses like Lupus (Balogh, Apopka farmworkers). We want to shed light to
the horrible impact the pesticides are having on the lake and people living in the area. Our
familias definition of rhetorical citizenship is similar in that we believe that it comes from the
ability to speak for ourselves and for the underprivileged; we listen to those who lack agency in
society through acts of civic engagement. Our model of public interest research supports this
definition because we are acting for the health and longevity of Apopkas residents. Our model of
social justice, environmental justice, relates to our definition because we work to speak for the
residents of Apopka, who lack agency, to bring them justice in terms of environmental safety.

Our proposal is aimed towards two target audiences: Apopka residents and the greater
Orlando area, with a primary focus on Apopka residents. The local Apopka community is largely
comprised of farm workers and farmers. Our focus will be on the farmers in charge of the
farmworkers in the area to reach the root of this issue and allow the awareness to trickle down.
According to the farm workers, when [they] were working, ...[the farmers] were spraying those
fields (Florida Association of Farmworkers, 14). These types of responses from farmworkers
show that farmers may either not be aware or be apathetic (possibly due to economic reasons),
towards the environmental situation of the area. We will also focus on the greater Orlando area in
order to evoke a larger awareness with the hope that it spreads and reduces the harmful
contributions of each informed participant.
To gain peoples attention and to raise awareness for Lake Apopka, Wake and Restore the
Lake will set up a Twitter page. This allows young residents of the area to be current with some
of the facts and events that will come across. For example, by following our Twitter page, people
can go to local schools or parks, and go to our bake sales where we will gain donations by selling
baked goods for twenty-five cents to a dollar. With this tactic we can inform people with facts
about Lake Apopka and how the people in the area are being affected by it. By creating a club at
UCF to raise awareness for Lake Apopka, we will set up a bake sale in front of the library and
bring people in to raise awareness of the situation in Apopka. We will detail how people are
getting diseases due to the pesticides going into the lake, how the environment around the lake is
dying and the large scale death of birds (nfwm-yaya.org).
Scope and Limitations.
The WRLs campaign is concentrated to raise awareness via social media, meetings,
community activities, and guest speaker invitations. We believe that these methods are the most

convenient and the cheapest ways to connect with our intended audiences. Creating a Twitter
account for people to follow and keep track with our latest accomplishments is one method that
we came up with. According to pewinternet.org, 37% of Twitter users are aged 18-29 and 25% of
users are Hispanic. This serves as our best strategy to entice our primary audience to get
involved because most of the Apopka residents are Hispanic. Based from the success of the ALS
Ice Bucket Challenge going viral, we feel that Twitter is one of the most effective ways to
proclaim the purposes of our campaign. We use Twitter as our vessel to lure new members;
people that are willing to join and support our campaign.
Another method we use is by organizing meetings and gatherings to promote our
movement, at the meetings our recruitment and educative processes takes place. We collaborate
with people that are looking forward to join our group and at the same time, pass significant
campaign information and protocols to the new members. Fun activities, such as having bake
sales are also one of our ways to connect with our audiences. This gives us a way to interact
with prospective followers and also to generate funds intended to help the farm workers that
were affected by working for the corporations that dumps the pesticides. Our most reliable
source of earning funds for our operations comes from doing bake sales and donations. The last
method we do to improve our campaign is to invite guest speakers, such as FWAF Pesticide
Coordinator, Jeannie Economos into our meetings and provide some insights that can help our
campaigns operations (nfwn-yaya.org). We choose individuals that have the credibility and the
experience on matters that concern the improvement of Lake Apopkas condition. Aside from
inviting guest speakers to speak to our members, the group leaders will also arrange in-class
presentations to promote the purposes of our campaign.

Even though the most common setback that our group encounters is the slow progress in
generating monetary support, our intention is greatly focused not in the amount of money
generated, but the amount of enlightened citizens on the concerns that engulfs Lake Apopkas
condition. Being a group operated campaign, we mostly rely on members to administer our
operations. Limitations surface, however, when group members cannot provide the time that is
required to carry on an agenda. The lack of manpower also presents as a hindrance to the
furtherance of our campaign, so we are focusing on recruiting more members to spread our
cause. During every event that WRL hosts, one of the main goals is to recruit new participants to
join the campaign.
We intend to reach everyone living in the Apopka community, as well as surrounding
Orlando. Through our mediums of communication, such as bake sales, Twitter, and club
meetings we hope to reach this population. This campaign does not aim to create new legislation
regarding the hazardous chemicals in the lake because we do not have the financial resources to
bring a civil case to court. We also do not intend to solve Lake Apopkas problem by ourselves
because we lack the agency to be heard in the governmental realm. We will, however, develop a
plan that we will take to institutions that have the power to make change, such as St. Johns River
Water Management District, who well ask to pressure the farmers to use healthier pesticide
alternatives such as Bacillus thuringiensis, a type of bacteria (mcdaniel.edu).
Plan of Action
Our campaign to Wake and Restore the Lake will be initiated and completed in two years,
see Appendix I for our timeline. Through the combined work of our familia we will execute bake
sales, a successful Twitter page and raise awareness through the WRL club. To make this process
work, Bill Santino Sabarre will reside as WRL club president, Ashley Montgomery and Esther

Valverde will manage the Twitter page and all group members, Tatiana Zuniga, Bill Santina
Sabarre, Esther Valverde, Alex Stepanov, and Ashley Montgomery will participate in the baking
aspect of the campaign. The WRL campaign is feasible in two years because although we need to
educate one-third of the Orlando population, our bake sales, donations and potential gifts from
corporate sponsors can quickly help to achieve that goal. Another constraint is the ability to gain
participants, but through the power of social media, we can reach thousands of people locally
and nationally that will join our clubs, buy baked goods, and at least donate money to the
affected Apopka residents or an organization working towards the lakes restoration. A large
constraint that we face is that we lack agency, our cause is not well-known and our campaign is
relatively small. By cooperating with the community, government agencies and corporations we
can increase our agency and gain the voice we need in order to affect change for Lake Apopka
and its residents.
The WRL as a collective is qualified to implement this project because of our
extensive investigation of and hands-on work with the people of Apopka. We have sorted
through multiple legal documents that show the values and concerns of the community members.
We have also personally met with community members at the Hope CommUnity Center located
in Apopka. We plan on visiting Lake Apopka for a Toxic Tour, an informational trek of the
lake including the history and environmental effects of the pesticides, to develop strong
empirical evidence as backing for our campaign. In regards to our forms of civic engagement,
our team members are knowledgeable in the workings and conventions of Twitter. We are also
prepared and experienced in the craft of baking. We have access to a kitchen and will use our
own funds to gather the necessary ingredients for all of our baked goods. We have craft supplies
readily available to add attention grabbing facts onto the baked goods we give out. Given our

supplies, knowledge, and passion for this topic, we believe that the WRL is credible and
qualified to implement this campaign.
Over the course of two years, WRL will have gained enough
money to help the farm workers, the residents of Apopka, and the greater Orlando area. Having a
club on campus, hosting events, and class meetings can be a way to raise awareness to UCF
students. By partnering up with St. Johns River, we can help raise awareness to UCF students
and local residents about how this affects the residents of Apopka, FL. For example, by reaching
our goal we can use that money towards a donation to anybody who is affected by the pesticides,
or give it to an organization that is trying to restore the lake. By speaking in different
environmental and civic engagement classes we will address the lakes pesticide problem
through a ten minute presentation.

Appendix I

Wake and Restore the Lake Timeline


By: Tatiana Zuniga

Works Cited

"Alternatives to Pesticides." Mcdaniel Education. Web. 22 Apr. 2015.


Balogh, Christopher. Apopka Farmworkers say pesticide exposure caused illnesses. Orlando
Weekly. 01 June 2011. Web. 17 Apr. 2015.
"Demographics of Key Social Networking Platforms." Pew Research Centers Internet American
Life Project. 9 Jan. 2015. Web. 24 Apr. 2015.
"FWAF Community Forum and Dinner - Domestic Fair Trade Association, Farm Worker
Association of Florida, Farm Workers, Florida -." YAYA. 15 Dec. 2013. Web. 22 Apr.
2015.
Lake Apopka Farmworkers Environmental Health Project: Report on Community Health
Survey. The Farmworker Association of Florida. May 2006. Web. 17 Apr. 2015.
"Lake Apopka Toxic Tour - Farm Worker Association of Florida, Farm Workers, Florida,
Pesticides -." YAYA. 29 Nov. 2013. Web. 17 Apr. 2015.
Pangea Adventure Racing, photograph, Lake Apopka, Florida.
"What Poisoned the Farmworkers of Apopka, FL, and Why Is Nobody Doing a Thing to Help
Them?" Politics of the Plate. 9 June 2010. Web. 17 Apr. 2015.