Coalition of Immokalee Workers

McDonald's Truth Tour 2006:
The Real Rights Tour!



Join our low-traffic email list for the latest updates from CIW:




As the three legs of the tour parted ways early Tuesday morning, the Truth Tour's central team wasn't alone for long. Arriving in Indianapolis we joined a committed and plucky group of SEIU workers at a picket outside of a buidling where janitors were just fired for the simple act of standing up for their rights...

The farmworkers in Immokalee know this type of treatment first hand all too well. The pressure created by the SEIU/ CIW contingent got the message through to the building manager; they agreed to a meeting later the same day with the aggreived workers.

We decided to see if we would have the same luck in conveying a similar message to McDonald's -- work with the farmworkers directly to address their greivances in the fields from which McD's sources their tomatoes.

So, we took our noisy little protest down the street to outside of a McDonald's. No such luck here. Even the "men in khakis" to whom we have become accostomed over the course of the tour weren't visible at this McDonald's recessed inside of a corporate office building.

From Indianapolis it was off across the flat lands of Indiana to Urbana Champaign and a community of activists and who have been able to create a space to tell the stories that don't usually make it into the mainstream media by harnessing tools including low-power radio and a community-wide wireless access network.

Atop the UC Independent Media Center, this tower (from a photo taken at the November radio barnraising of Radio Free Urbana by the Truth Tour's intrepid photographer JJ Tiziou), is reminiscent of the radio tower gracing the skies above Immokalee. Both were erected by a team of people committed to taking back the airwaves from commercial media interests with the assitance of the Prometheus Radio Project.

photo: JJ Tiziou

Housed inside the IMC, Radio Free Urbana is dedicated to creating a space where anyone can "Become the Media."

And this is exactly what happened in an interview conducted by WRFU DJ's Lynsee Melchi and Daniel Parsons. Truth Tour members shared their stories - as only they can - over the UC airwaves.

Click here to listen to the interview

photo: JJ Tiziou

But Truth Tour participant Eucevio Rodriguez is no stranger to community media, being a DJ himself on the CIW's very own radio station, Radio Conciencia.

A simultaneous interview took place across town with WEFT, another community station serving the Urbana-Champaign area. On Mediageek, Paul Riismander's, show the CIW discussed the importance of community media to the success of the Taco Bell campaign and the future of the campaign for fair food.

To hear the program, visit Mediageek's site by clicking here.

photo: JJ Tiziou

Explaining the reality faced by farmworkers of sub-poverty wages, the absence of benefits of any kind, and the numerous abuses confronted everyday wasn't limited to the radio world in UC. Central leg participants also talked to the print media. This time to Buzz Magazine, a local arts and entertainment weekly.

photo: JJ Tiziou

After a long day of media and meaing making, we took a break for some fair and fine food and warm hospitality from the kind folks at the UCIMC.

photo: JJ Tiziou

And finally, to finish our time in UC the CIW's Fransica Cortes spoke to a group of Fighting Illini at the University of Illinois - Urbana Champaign about the CIW's fight for real rights.

photo: JJ Tiziou

Students and youth are the 'sweet spot' of the CIW, providing a vital ally link between farmworkers and corporations that call campus home. It appears that these Amnesty International members may be ready to apply some of the same strategies engaged by students across the country during the Taco Bell boycott. Amnesty International USA, a new endorser of the Alliance for Fair Food works to protect human rights worldwide -- the same rights the CIW is asking McDonald's to protect in their tomato supply chain.


And now for your moment of daily zen... or daily Anjeli, in this case.

Tomorrow -- The Central team heads straight to Chicago

For more photos from day 3's central leg, click here.
For the report from the East leg, click here.
For the report from the West leg, click here.

y enha