Nov. 21 Uniting for Fair Food Day of Action sweeps across Florida!

2015_Uniting_Fair_Food_Jax_4221

From Georgia border to Southern beaches, Florida’s consumers, farmworkers unite to demand justice from Publix, Wendy’s… 

Back in November, we laid out the Fair Food Nation’s big plans for the November 21st Uniting for Fair Food Day of Action.  CIW members and consumer allies promised to kick off the holiday season with one, clearcut demand:  justice — not charity — for farmworkers from the major food retailers still refusing to make a tangible commitment to farmworkers’ human rights.

And boy, did the Fair Food Nation deliver on that promise!

From Jacksonville all the way down to Miami, conscientious consumers took to the streets — rain or shine — alongside farmworkers to show Wendy’s and Publix their support for the Fair Food Program.  Bursting with energy, young people, church groups, and families marched in city after city — and we caught it all on camera!  Today, we are happy to bring you some of the photo highlights from the weekend.

The biggest splash was most certainly in Miami, where over 150 staunch Fair Food allies along with CIW members and their families, defied the day’s dreary weather predictions to march from historic José Martí Park to both Wendy’s and Publix.  The early hovering rain was no match for the high spirits of the gathered crowd (though the ponchos also helped a little)… 

2015_Uniting_Fair_Food_Miami_0023

2015_Uniting_Fair_Food_Miami_3450

CIW members were joined by some of Miami’s most incredible organizing groups, including the unstoppable youth organization, Dream Defenders, as well as longtime sister organization WeCount!, from Homestead, not to mention students from Barry University, University of Miami, and St. Thomas University… 

2015_Uniting_Fair_Food_Miami_0335

IMG_0777

Bolstered by that support, the gathered crew took Miami’s streets by storm, marching two miles past Wendy’s and Publix, delivering manager letters as they went… 

2015_Uniting_Fair_Food_Miami_3629

… only to gather once again for a final closing reflection back at José Martí Park, led by CIW’s indefatigable Lupe Gonzalo and Silvia Perez…

2015_Uniting_Fair_Food_Miami_3697

Lupe (above):  “When we asked the Wendy’s manager to pass along our message, he said that he would not take the letter and told us to go to corporate headquarters with our concerns — which is exactly what we’re asking for when we take to the streets:  A dialogue with the company!  We have put out so many calls for conversation with Wendy’s, and every time, they turn their back on us, they hide from us.  But we will keep marching… thank you to everyone who came out today in the streets of Miami, we will keep making our movement stronger and uniting our voices — because only together can we make a change.”

IMG_1102

Silvia (above):  “We went to leave the letter with the Publix manager… and they said nothing.  They just stood there, silent.  I told them — it is time for you to join the Fair Food Program.  It is time for you to pay the penny per pound.  Just like the fourteen other corporations that are doing it.  I cannot understand why you are taking so long.  And even when I told him about the working conditions in the fields, the incredibly low wages we receive… he still said nothing.”

2015_Uniting_Fair_Food_Miami_3737

Meanwhile, at the other end of Florida, Jacksonville allies — led by River City Science Academy’s ever-impressive high school students — picked up freshly-made artwork and headed out for a picket… 

2015_Uniting_Fair_Food_Jax_4330

2015_Uniting_Fair_Food_Jax_4564

…and of course, made sure all passersby got the message!

2015_Uniting_Fair_Food_Jax_4391

North and South aside, the middle of state was not to be left behind!  Tampa came out as well for the Uniting for Fair Food Day of Action, pulling together members of Tampa Bay Fair Food for a spirited march to both Wendy’s and Publix…

2015_Uniting_Fair_Food_Tampa_0023

… and let’s not forget Orlando, where the NFWM-YAYA crew, University Unitarian Universalist Society, and First Unitarian of Orlando joined CIW members for a Publix picket followed by a quintessential selfie… 

2015_Uniting_Fair_Food_Orlando_0023

In short, the key holiday message consumers and farmworkers sought to bring to the fore rang out loud and true across Florida:  Charity is not enough.  It is only justice — sitting at the table with farmworkers themselves, not just with the food they pick — that can ensure that the women and men in the fields can work safely, and with dignity, after decades of violence and abuse, and a safe working environment.  

Publix, Wendy’s:  The Fair Food Program offers you the opportunity to partner with farmworkers, growers, and fourteen other corporations in creating that long overdue change.  It is high time that you do your part — so that perhaps this time next year, farmworkers will not need the support of charities, but rather will be able to support their own families, armed finally with the dignity and decent wages, and appreciation, that their labor deserves.

, , , , , , ,