Coalition of Immokalee Workers

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



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Amidst a flurry of strong protests and press coverage of the Real Rights Tour, Day 5 found the East Crew closing in on the Golden Arches' global headquarters. However, before spending three long-anticipated days in McDonald's backyard, there was one last stop to make on the road to the Windy City: South Bend, Indiana, home of Notre Dame University and the Fightin' Irish. In fact, Notre Dame students, who have a long history of rock-solid CIW solidarity, were so excited about the arrival of the CIW that they even arranged for the Notre Dame Bagpipe Band to greet the visitors!

Okay, so the bagpipes weren't actually for us, but the sincerity and excitement of the Notre Dame students was very real. In this picture, a sociology class enjoys a screening of the NOW documentary chronicling the CIW's early history, the nuts-and-bolts of the Taco Bell boycott, and the significance precedents established by the victory.

Following the screening, students heard directly from farmworkers on the East Leg -- decked out with the latest Golden Arches protest accessories, fashionable pieces that are sure to make a big splash this spring -- about the urgent necessity of fighting back against McDonald's attempts to roll back the gains of the Taco Bell boycott.

And judging by the intense look of concentrationon these faces...

...and the sustained round of applause following the presentation, Notre Dame students were not having a tough time seeing through McDonald's PR spin. It appears that the spirit of solidarity that yielded a week-long student hunger strike and one of the most hard-fought "Boot the Bell" victories during the Taco Bell boycott is indeed alive and well in South Bend.

And to drive home that point, a delegation of 20+ students from Notre Dame MEChA and the Progressive Student Alliance organized a spontaneous delegation to a local McDonald's to present the restaurant manager with yet another signed letter demanding that his company work with the CIW to clean up human rights violations in its tomato supply chain.

Without the guidlng pressence of a khaki-clad corporate advance team, this McD's manager decided on a course of appeasement, politely receiving the letter and informing the impromptu human rights delegation that he would speak with his superiors about the serious issues that were raised.

The East Leg's stay in South Bend concluded with a presentation at St. Mary's University. If you look close enough, you might even recognize a familiar face from the smash hit "Ronaldo the Clown" video.

In terms of enthusiasm for fair food, the St. Mary's students were certainly not going to be outdone by their colleagues across the street at Notre Dame. From here on out, no CIW visit to South Bend will be complete without hooking up with our new friends at St. Mary's.

So after one last day together, a day full of education and diaogue, the East Leg crew was ready to hit the road for the home stretch: "Onward to Chicago!"

Next up: three days in McDonald's backyard.