Roll on! University of Notre Dame, Georgetown University, John Carroll University to join national student fast…

Student fasters at the University of Notre Dame, who will join Georgetown University and John Carroll University in a rolling fast of Catholic Universities this week.

Students at several of country’s largest Catholic universities unite to announce series of rolling 48-hour fasts throughout this week! 

PLUS:  Read the reflections of Vanderbilt, Tampa Bay, Ohio State students as they come together with CIW members to discuss the groundbreaking fast for farmworker justice…

It’s going to be another big week of news from the student organizing front this week, as a growing wave of student activism in support of the Wendy’s Boycott — set in motion by the weeklong student fast on the campus of Ohio State University last month — continues to roll out to universities across the nation.

Today, we bring you breaking news from the campuses of three of the country’s most hallowed Catholic universities.  Following the inspirational fasts of students at Ohio State University, University of Michigan, New College of Florida, University of South Florida, University of Tampa, Eckerd College and Vanderbilt University, over a dozen students and alumni from Notre Dame, Georgetown, and John Carroll universities have come together to take on three, sequential 48-hour fasts this week.  Even as these new fasts take off, updates continue to roll in to Immokalee from last week’s fasts in the Tampa Bay region, the ongoing fast at Vanderbilt University, as well as the escalating Boot the Braids Campaign at Ohio State University — with much, much more to come in the week ahead.

Georgetown, Notre Dame, John Carroll step up to (and away from…) the plate!

First up this week, John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio, a school with a longstanding relationship with the CIW through its Alternative Spring Break Program, will launch the fast today.  Building off the experiences of a generation of students who have come to Immokalee to learn about conditions in the fields — and what they can do as students to join farmworkers in changing those conditions — five John Carroll students will open their fast with a ceremony at high noon today, launching a two-day encampment that will conclude with a delegation to a local Wendy’s near campus on Wednesday.

From there, fellow Jesuit institution Georgetown University in Washington, DC — a longtime Fair Food stronghold — will follow.  Six students at Georgetown, supported by alumni across the country, will begin their fast Wednesday, hosting a series of events to educate fellow students, and ending with a Thursday evening vigil organized in conjunction with DC Fair Food and students from George Washington University.

The week will end with a 48-hour fast at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, one of the first universities to join the Student/Farmworker Alliance and home of a high-profile, successful Boot the Bell campaign during the Taco Bell Boycott.  Three Notre Dame students (two pictured above), also inspired by a visit to Immokalee last month and their participation in the first several stops of the Return to Human Rights Tour, will begin on Wednesday evening with a “Last Supper” and then will continue with a series of campus events to educate their fellow students on the Wendy’s Boycott until the fast breaks at sundown on Friday. 

Meanwhile, National Catholic Reporter, a widely-circulated source of Catholic news for the past 50 years, has turned a spotlight on the rolling fasts.  In addition to covering last month’s landmark fast by OSU students, NCR published another piece this week cataloguing the incredible progress of the rolling fast in the wake of OSU:

Hunger strikes protesting Wendy’s snowball across college campuses

By Shireen Korkzan |  Apr. 21, 2017

After 19 students at the Ohio State University concluded their weeklong fast to protest fast-food chain Wendy’s, students at Big Ten rival University of Michigan joined the cause.

The students broke their fast March 26, when about 500 farmworkers, college students, religious leaders and consumer allies marched three miles in the Parade for Human Rights in Columbus, Ohio, in solidarity with Florida farmworkers. Wendy’s is headquartered in the nearby suburb of Dublin.

University of Michigan students attended the parade, and after, the Ohio State fasters and six Michigan students joined a stage together to launch the next leg of fasting. As the Ohio State students broke theirs with bread, the Michigan students began a 24-hour fast of their own. This “passing of the torch” officially ended the parade, which also marked the end of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ 12-city, two-week Return to Human Rights Tour… Read More

We’ll bring you updates from the fasts at John Carroll, Georgetown, and Notre Dame as the week progresses.

Student fasters from Vanderbilt, Tampa and OSU reflect on the powerful experience of fasting for farmworker justice… 

CIW’s Santiago Perez joins student fasters from Eckerd College on Friday as they break their fast. PHOTOGRAPHER // Lisette Morales

Throughout the past week, as the Tampa Bay fast came to a close and students at Vanderbilt and OSU dug in for their respective Boot the Braids Campaigns, student fasters were joined by CIW members to reflect on the extraordinary momentum generated by their courageous actions, as well as the experience of fasting itself.  This organic, truly stunning wave of student action in the Wendy’s Boycott is at once building enormous public pressure on the fast food chain, and transforming each and every one of the individuals who take on the act of fasting in the process.

Today we bring you reflections directly from student fasters as well as from CIW and supporting people of faith.  First, here below are just a few of the highlights from the breaking of the Eckerd College fast, which concluded on Friday evening with a beachside, sundown ceremony and with the blessing and company both of student fasters from Sarasota and of Rev. Kim Wells from Lakewood United Church of Christ:

PHOTOGRAPHER // Lisette Morales

Holly Rutherford, Eckerd College: “I fasted for five days, and I’m going to break that tonight. It was a lot harder than I thought…but I am grateful that I had this experience to reflect on the issues that farmworkers in Immokalee are facing and to think about the broader implications of Wendy’s continuing to refuse to join the Fair Food Program.”

CIW member Santiago Perez: “Today, with so many students involved, we are like a pebble in Wendy’s shoes. And every day, we grow to become more pebbles. One day, we’ll be enough to bring Wendy’s to the table! Today, there are thousands of workers who know that we are not alone. They see students, people of faith, consumers, corporations, interested in protecting our rights.”

PHOTOGRAPHER // Lisette Morales

Rev. Kim Wells (pictured above): “Food is essential to life. And the farmworker movement honors all workers. It’s also about the dignity of consumers, because we are all diminished when our food supply is tainted by injustice. It dehumanizes all of us. 

You all talked about fasting, and I really admire you for that, along with the students from the other schools in solidarity with farmworker concerns… You’ve made a sacrifice, but I imagine you’ll find that you’ve received far more from your experience than you gave up.  And I believe that’s the character of the farmworker movement.  It’s teaching us to honor the humanity of each and every person.”

Upon breaking their fast, students took off their armbands — the very same ones passed off to them by New College students last week — and placed them in envelopes, to be sent off to Georgetown, John Carroll and Notre Dame.  

Meanwhile, students leaders from Ohio State University drove nearly twelve hours round-trip to Nashville, Tennessee, to join CIW members and Vanderbilt Students, now in the home stretch of their own 7-day fast, for a reflection on the growing movement.  As the gathered students moved into final preparations for major Wendy’s actions in Nashville and Columbus on Tuesday, they took a moment to reflect on their personal experiences fasting, as well as the road ahead:

Josh Palmer, Vanderbilt University: Starting Tuesday, I will go back to eating normally again.  But so many people, including farmworkers, will still be working hard, without getting breaks, after working all day in the fields — they can’t.  As Tuesday happens, this hunger for justice will be taken up others, and this memory of how we felt will change and motivate us to fight for better conditions.  This has been a transformative experience.

Alex Hoey, Ohio State University:  My fast was one of the most strengthening things I’ve ever done.  These reflections, which we did every morning, would rebuild my power… We would build power from each other.

CIW Member Cruz Salucio:  I think what 2017 has brought is historic for the Campaign for Fair Food.  The last time that students took an action like this, with rolling fasts, was in 2003 — almost 15 years ago.  As workers, we recognize that you’re lighting a fire in the Campaign…

… Over the years, we have been ignored by corporations or growers, but we never took a step back.  We kept fighting.  Sooner or later, Wendy’s too will feel that force that we’re creating, and they will join the Program.  And you will be part of that victory, and part of that change…

… Today, the same growers who ignored the actions of farmworkers [in the 90s] have come to realize that human rights cannot be ignored.  Those who put food on your table are important.  What we’ve created with the Fair Food Program — partnership between growers, retailers and farmworkers — is the ultimate goal.

On that inspiring note:  Make sure to stay tuned for more breaking updates this week across the country as Notre Dame, Georgetown, and John Carroll launch rolling 48-hour fasts, Vanderbilt students mobilize end their 7-day fast with a march through campus tomorrow, and Ohio State students take to the streets in Columbus for Tuesday’s major mobilization!

As rolling student fast enters second month, Vanderbilt students answer the call loud and clear!

Like Tampa area fast, Vanderbilt action snowballs, doubles within days of launch and catches the attention of University administration, local media…Following yesterday’s exciting news of the series of 3-day fasts rolling through university campuses in the Tampa Bay region — and of the critical call to action from students at OSU — we have yet another inspiring update today, this time from the parallel student action taking place in Nashville at Vanderbilt University!  But first… A call to action to support OSU student leaders!Quickly, before we jump into the action in Tennessee, we want to remind everyone that makes up the vast Fair […]

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Boot the Braids campaigns surge in Columbus, Tampa Bay!

Number of fasting students doubles overnight in Tampa, as news of Wendy’s unconscionable failure to respect Florida farmworkers’ human rights spreads across campuses!…Plus, CALL TO ACTION: Ohio State students call for Fair Food Nation to send videos to OSU administration before Sunday…The rising tide of student action following last month’s Return to Human Rights Tour hit yet another high water mark this week, with major developments in the national Boot the Braids Campaign taking shape on campuses in both Columbus, Ohio, and the Tampa Bay area here in Florida (with still much more to come from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, too!). Early this week, […]

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PHOTO REPORT: Nationwide student fast keeps rolling!

New College, Valencia College students break five-day fast, vow to continue the Campaign:  “This University will continue to fight for the rights of farmworkers, and for all human rights”…Students at Vanderbilt, University of Tampa, Eckerd College and University of South Florida take up the torch as national rolling student fast for farmworker justice continues!After five long days of fasting — an act that inspired more than 80 of their fellow New College students, as well as college President Donal O’Shea, to fast alongside them — five students from New College of Florida and Valencia College broke bread with farmworkers from Immokalee on Good Friday following a picket […]

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New College students launch 5-day fast, win support of college President Donal O’Shea and scores of Florida students pledging to Boycott Wendy’s!

The local Sarasota SNN TV station breaks the news of New College students fasting in support of the Wendy’s Boycott.Nationwide rolling fast for farmworker justice hits Florida…Students at New College in Sarasota declare: “I’m fasting to stand in solidarity with Ohio State students as they fight with their administration to get Wendy’s off their campus, and in solidarity with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and all of the work that they have been doing for over 20 years to get farmworkers the basic human rights that they deserve…”This week, students at New College of Florida and Valencia College launched a five-day fast […]

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“Keep your word! Cut the contract with Wendy’s!” OSU students take demands to Board of Trustees meeting!

PLUS: Students at New College of Florida begin five-day fast in solidarity with OSU’s Boot the Braids campaign!Last month, farmworkers from Immokalee and hundreds of allies converged on Columbus, Ohio, for a major mobilization and parade at the peak of the Return to Human Rights Tour, just as 19 students and alumni of OSU broke a 7-day fast for farmworker justice:But although the fast ended that day, students at OSU — and across the country — were in fact just getting started.  Just a day after last week’s reflection on this website on the relationship between Ohio State University and the Wendy’s Corporation, OSU’s President Michael Drake […]

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OSU and Wendy’s: Taking stock of a troubled relationship…

Or if you prefer your proverbs biblical, “Do not be deceived: Bad company corrupts good character.” (1 Corinthians, 15:33)After Wendy’s latest public relations play, OSU administration must decide how far it will allow its fast-food partner to drag a proud university down into the mud…Benjamin Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanac is generally credited with popularizing the colorful aphorism, “He that lieth down with the dogs shall rise up with fleas.”  It is an age old proverb that is widely understood to mean that one should choose carefully the company one keeps, lest the sins of your associates become your own in the eyes of the public.And in the wake of the most recent […]

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Hot off the press! The full media round-up from the Return to Human Rights Tour is here…

Ohio State student fasters: “With this fast, we wanted to send the signal loud and clear [to Wendy’s] that as consumers, we care about where our food comes from…”Hitting 14 cities in 14 days, and featuring a week-long fast by 19 courageous students and alumni at Ohio State University, the Return to Human Rights Tour undoubtedly established the high-water mark in the year-old Wendy’s Boycott.  For one frenetic fortnight in March, thousands of consumers in state after state — from student fasters and local labor leaders to determined clergy and consumers of conscience of every stripe — joined forces with the tour crew and amplified the CIW’s message to Wendy’s: […]

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A Tampa Twofer! Return to Human Rights Tour wraps up with a huge march, rally at Tampa Wendy’s, Publix…

Nearly 300 exuberant Fair Food supporters turn out to welcome the Return to Human Rights Tour back to Florida with a rocking rally and march through Tampa!Now that is what we call a warm, down-home welcome:More than two weeks after embarking on an odyssey that would ultimately cover 14 states and over 2,000 miles, the Return to Human Rights Tour crew was given a heroes’ welcome by nearly 300 of their closest friends in Tampa on Wednesday, including a massive march (above) from a Publix store to a Wendy’s restaurant, a joyous rally looking to a future of an ever more […]

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“It’s a hard rain’s gonna fall…”

The Photo Report from Sunday’s Parade for Human Rights in Columbus, Ohio, is here, and from the looks of things, a hard rain is coming for those who would stand in the way of farmworkers’ fundamental rights!In what would become an unforgettable march celebrating the end of the week-long fast by students and alumni at The Ohio State University — and the start of a rolling fast of students across the Fair Food Nation in support of the Wendy’s Boycott — nearly 500 farmworkers and their consumer allies braved cold winds and a soaking rainstorm to march three miles through […]

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It’s still a pig…

Wendy’s latest public relations ploy in response to Campaign for Fair Food isn’t fooling anyone…Sometimes, you just have to hand it to Wikipedia.  It can be a wonderful resource, with clear, concise definitions of just about every concept under the sun.  Here’s a good example, brought to mind by the very latest news out of Wendy’s public relations department:Lipstick on a pig – Wikipedia To put “lipstick on a pig” is a rhetorical expression, used to convey the message that making superficial or cosmetic changes is a futile attempt to disguise the true nature of a product.The latest “news” from Wendy’s PR shop… Earlier this […]

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MUST-SEE Super Bowl Adbust: Farmworkers expertly take down Wendy’s $5 million “Cold as Ice” commercial!

Facebook, Twitter blow up with Fair Food version of Wendy’s big Super Bowl ad buy! $5 million for 30 seconds of Super Bowl airtime could fund more than 5 years of fairer wages and humane working conditions for workers picking Wendy’s tomatoes through the Fair Food Program… In the event that you were watching the Super Bowl yesterday, you may have caught Wendy’s 30 second ad that aired shortly before halftime.  The ad emphasized two aspects of Wendy’s concerted strategy to re-invent its public image: an emphasis on “quality” ingredients and a cheeky Twitter game.  In case you didn’t catch it the first time, […]

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A Tale of Two Roadside Farm Stands…

Or why Wendy’s is not like you.And why you should join us for the Return to Human Rights Tour this March 16-29!Join us, if you will, in a brief thought experiment: What would you do if you were in the market for some fresh tomatoes and you happened upon a roadside farm stand — an idyllic, pastoral produce stand, its shelves piled high with fruits and vegetables picked fresh in fields right next door — selling red, ripe tomatoes at a great price?You’d stop in a heartbeat, right?  Who doesn’t love farm fresh produce?But what if, while you’re standing at the cash […]

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European governments take note of Fair Food Program’s power to resolve longstanding human rights conflicts…

Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) publishes brief on Fair Food Program in quarterly magazine…In an effort to provide a forum for economic cooperation and reduce tensions during the height of the Cold War, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) was formed in 1975 in Helsinki, Finland.  Since then, it has expanded to include 57 member states — including the US — from Europe, Central Asia, and North America.  Today the OSCE has grown to become “the world’s largest security-oriented intergovernmental organization” with a mandate that includes “issues such as arms control and the promotion of human rights, freedom of the […]

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UN expert: FFP “must be considered an international benchmark” in fight against modern-day slavery!

United Nations Human Trafficking expert lifts up CIW’s Fair Food Program following fact-finding tour of US anti-slavery efforts…Nothing like starting off the new year on a positive note!In her official End of Visit Statement issued late last month, the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur in Trafficking in Persons, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, made special mention of the CIW’s Fair Food Program for its exemplary results in the prevention of modern-day slavery.  Here is an excerpt from her statement, issued through the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights:Washington DC, 19 December 2016 – I am grateful to the Government of the United States of America […]

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The arc of the moral universe is still ours to bend…

As fundamental human rights take the national stage following Tuesday’s electoral results, the battle for farm labor rights continues…Rio Grande Valley, Austin, San Marcos, San Antonio take the call for farm labor justice to Wendy’s doorstep!Before we begin today’s update, a word on current events:“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”We have had occasion to quote those words, attributed to Dr. Martin Luther King, many a time over the 25 years that we have been organizing here in Immokalee.  The quotation reminds us that, though at times it might seem that progress has grown unbearably slow […]

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