“WE’D RATHER GO HUNGRY THAN EAT
** Flash**... Hunger strikers get news upon return to Immokalee:
Professor Noam Chomsky endorses boycott 3/10/03!
out this great journal -- "A
Hunger Striker's Diary" -- by faster Stephen
Bartlett (on left, speaking at Feb. 28th rally), a family
farmer from Kentucky representing Agricultural Missions. Stephen
fasted on site in Irvine for 8 days, then returned to Louisville
(home of YUM! Brands) and continued fasting, while helping
to coordinate actions by local boycott supporters there in
"This is no easy protest.
Already we have three people hospitalized, one elderly farmworker
named Roberto with pneumonia, another supporter with appendicitis.
People are weak, with heart palpitations and elevated blood
pressures. Yet, somehow spirits remain high and rising.
The rain poured down torrentially
and we took advantage of the cover to erect a veritable
tent city along the sidewalk, which had to be dismantled
as soon as the sun appeared, to keep the police from making
good on their promise to cancel Friday's demonstration permit...."
click here to read more
leaders intervene, hunger strike ends, Day 10
Click here for Naples Daily News story:
protest passed on to religious groups"
Heeding religious leaders' calls -- including a letter from
Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles -- to end their fast,
and vows to join the workers in their struggle, farmwokers
from Immokalee and their allies ended their hunger strike
on Wednesday, March 5, the 10th day of their fast. The hunger
strikers ended their fast symbolically by
breaking bread (left) with religious leaders at an Ash Wednesday
service in their honor at 10:00 am at the hunger strike
site outside Taco Bell headquarters.
In his letter to the fasters, Cardinal Mahony writes: "I
am writing to express my solidarity with you as you continue
your campaign to secure fair and just working conditions
for yourselves and your fellow workers. Your current hunger
stirke has been a clear sign of your commitment and resolve
to seek a peaceful settlement to this current stalemate.
You are to be commended for your commitment and dedication
in leading this hunger strike. It has been a source of strength
for other workers around the country who struggle to provide
a decent existence for their families. As the Lenten season
approaches, and out of concern for your health, I urge you
to conclude this fast. In turn, I encourage Catholics to
stand with you by fasting during Lent as a sign of solidarity
with you and in prayer that you soon see a successful conclusion
to this campaign. As a sign of good will, I encourage the
leadership of Taco Bell to meet with you in the coming days
to seek a fair and peaceful solution to this dispute."
The Cardinal's letter was joined by similar letters from
the National Council of Churches (representing 50 million
people across the country), the Presbyterian Church (USA),
the United Church of Christ, and National Farm Worker Ministries.
Gerardo Reyes Chavez, a striker and CIW member, commented
on the end of the strike, “We are not at all surprised
that Taco Bell refused
to meet with us. In fact, we have grown accustomed to their
disdain for us, despite the fact that our hard work and
sacrifice make their profits possible. The same
way they are able to turn a blind eye to human rights abuses
in their supply chain, they have been able to step over
us without a second thought on their way to work during
the ten days of our fast.”
Chavez continued, “So today, though our fast has ended,
we are happy because -- to paraphrase Dr. King -- we have
seen the coming of a better day for farmworkers. Throughout
history, non-violent protest has served to reveal the true
character of the oppressor, and our hunger strike has been
no exception. Over the past ten days, Taco Bell
has rejected pastors bearing a message of dialogue, physicians
bearing a message of concern for our health, the mayor of
Irvine, offering his support for a solution to this dispute,
and tens of thousands of people acrosss the country who
in one form or another have been moved by the hunger strike
to demand justice of Taco Bell. With each rejection, these
good people felt the sting of Taco Bell’s disdain,
the sting we have felt for nearly two years now. And with
each rejection, we have gained new allies, allies that will
help us win our fight sooner and finally enjoy a fair wage
for our labor. So though our fast has ended, today
our boycott is stronger than ever.”
here for photos and report from Day 10, Ash Wednesday service
marking final day of hunger strike
here to see the VIDEO (Quicktime, 7.7 mb) of the final day
For more of the latest on the hunger strike,
click on the links below:
On Wednesday, March 5, hunger strikers break bread with
religious leaders from across the country to end their
fast and begin the next phase in the boycott campaign...
While on Friday, 2/28, over a thousand people thronged
to the hunger strike site at Taco Bell headquarters to
show their solidarity with the Immokalee fasters. The
strike anthem "Hunger Days" rocked the crowd,
as did sets by LA favorite Slowrider and the day laborers'
band "Los Jornaleros," speeches by Eric Schlosser
of "Fast Food Nation," Anuradha Mittal of Food
First, and speakers from the UFW to Family Farm Defenders!
Click on the link below to see the
daily reports, with great photos and video, from the 10-day
One of the most powerful moments of the Friday convergence
at TB headquarters in support of the strikers, LA-based
Slowrider turns and sings to the towering skyscraper,
"You can't hide from this!". Click on the link
below to go to the video page and click on the link to
this great video!
See the video of the incredible silent street theater
-- accompanied by a moving spiritual -- that set the tone
for the Friday convergence!
JG & Havikenhayes play the Los Angeles House of Blues
with Dead Prez!
actions busted out all over the country as the hunger
strikers rallied in Irvine!
on the link below to check out some of the stories and
ENDORSEMENTS KEEP COMING!
Huerta (L), co-founder of the United Farm Workers and
lifelong activist for farmworker and civil rights, Julia
Butterfly Hill, the courageous environmental activist,
Anti-Slavery International/London, the world's
oldest human rights organization, the National Lawyers
Guild, who will be also providing legal observation
at the February 28th convergence at Taco Bell headquarters,
and South Florida Jobs with Justice, a longtime
ally in labor battles here in Florida, all have added their
names to the growing list of people and people's organizations
calling on Taco Bell to clean up labor conditions in its supply
here to see full list of endorsements
Edward James Olmos (R),
the Emmy Award-winning actor/activist star of films
including "Blade Runner," "American Me,"
"Selena," and "Stand and Deliver," as the
latest to demand not just fast, but fair, food!
is a special honor to have Mr. Olmos on our side in this battle,
as he has proven time and again -- most recently with his courageous
activism to stop the bombing of Vieques in Puerto Rico -- that
he is not afraid to take on controversial causes.
CHECK THIS OUT... A NEW SINGLE!
JG & HavikenHayes
of Over the Counter Intelligence (out
of Ft. Lauderdale, FL) have produced a single
about the boycott and the hunger strike that will
rock Taco Bell's headquarters come February 28th.
sound is a politically-charged, underground hip-hop
that holds nothing back in the fight against economic
injustice and corporate control of our lives.
to check out a preview of their new track,
"Hunger Days" (one
out the article
on the hunger strike in the
Agence France Press Global Ethics Monitor 1/08!
And this article
on a new shareholder action in
support of the boycott 1/13!
More Endorsement News: Barbara
author of "Nickel and Dimed," and David
Korten, author of "When Corporations Rule
the World," have joined the growing list of boycott
endorsers. Here is what David Korten had to say:
strongly endorse the boycott of Taco Bell and other
fast food chains that profit from the misery of underpaid
workers and pose a threat to family farms and restaurants.
To have a society that works we must all become more
conscious of the implications of our food and other
buying choices. Make it a regular habit to patronize
businesses owned by local people that function as part
of a responsible community and avoid patronizing global
corporations like Taco Bell that care only for their
profits. Taco and hamburger stands should be owned and
run by local families, not global corporate predators."
rather go hungry than eat sweatshop tacos!"
That is the cry that will go up outside Taco
Bell headquarters in Irvine, CA, on February 24, 2003,
as farmworkers from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and the CIW’s
student, religious, and labor allies begin their historic hunger
strike. The action -- a hunger strike outside one of the world’s
largest fast-food corporations -- is a powerful contradiction that
will dramatically highlight the injustice of fast-food profits derived,
in significant part, from farmworker poverty. The strike comes after
a year of silence from Taco Bell executives.
[Last year’s historic cross-country tour brought unprecedented
national pressure on Taco Bell, as 70 workers and 30 students led
a caravan of protests from Atlanta to LA, on their way to a march
of nearly 2,000 angry consumers on Taco Bell headquarters in Irvine.
The tour led to the first-ever talks between farmworkers
and fast-food executives, but not to the concrete changes in wages
and working conditions that the Coalition of Immokalee Workers is
demanding of Taco Bell.]
While the hunger strikers stand vigil at Taco Bell headquarters,
a caravan of workers and allies will head south from Sacramento,
California, stopping at college campuses and communities along the
way and spreading word of the hunger strike through teach-ins and
protests at local Taco Bell restaurants.
And throughout the week, solidarity fasts and
protests will take place in communities throughout the country.
The caravan will reach Irvine on Friday, February 28th,
joining forces with the hunger strikers and with thousands of fair-food
activists from California and across the country for a national
day of convergence at Taco Bell headquarters - a huge day of protest
and music that will rock Taco Bell.
That’s where YOU
come in. Your participation in this year's action is CRUCIAL.
Here’s what you can do:
* Send representatives from your school, church, community organization
or union to fast in solidarity with Immokalee tomato pickers for
the week beginning Feb. 24, 2003
* Mobilize your community to join the Friday, Feb. 28, 2003
national convergence outside of the Taco Bell headquarters
* Organize solidarity fasts, protests, and rallies in your local
communities the week of Feb. 24th
Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 239-657-8311 as soon as possible to let the workers know
how you will participate in this year's action!