Day Six: The Mid-South stands up for Fair Food!



Louisville, Nashville rally to support Wendy’s Boycott, Workers’ Voice Tour!…

Following massive protests in New York City and Columbus at the top of the 10-day Workers’ Voice Tour, the Tour crew began the long road back home with stops in two major cities of the Mid-South, Louisville, KY, and Nashville, TN.  We’ll bring you a report from Louisville today, and one from Nashville tomorrow.

Before leaving Columbus, workers from Immokalee and their allies on the Tour — tired but still happy from the huge action the day before — wrapped up some unfinished business with a visit to Wendy’s corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ohio:


The marchers attempted to send a delegation inside to talk with company representatives, but were, predictably if politely, rejected by security before ever reaching the door.  

Wendy’s wasn’t the only corporate headquarters that would be visited on the way to the Tour’s next stop in Louisville, however.  Before leaving Ohio, the Tour crew stopped in Cincinnati at the headquarters of supermarket giant Kroger:


With those two bits of business in the books, there was one last stop before crossing into Kentucky, a stop chronicled in this remarkable video posted here yesterday:


Finally, it was on to Louisville, KY, home of the Taco Bell Boycott victory and the birthplace of the Fair Food movement!  In fact, as fate would have it we arrived in Louisville this year on March 8th, the 11th anniversary of that historic day


… and exactly 11 years later, we unfurled yet another boycott banner in Louisville, this time in Wendy’s name, because 11 years later Wendy’s still refuses to follow the example of Taco Bell and the rest of the fast-food industry in joining the Fair Food Program, choosing instead to run from responsibility to purchase its tomatoes in a land where human rights violations are endemic and go unchecked.


The Tour crew gathered on the gorgeous University of Louisville campus with dozens of local allies, many of whom have been involved in the Campaign for Fair Food since the earliest days of the Taco Bell Boycott, including Stephen Bartlett of Agricultural Missions (pictured here above on the left, wearing a striped red and white shirt), who was a participant in the CIW’s 2003’s 10-day hunger strike outside Taco Bell corporate headquarters in Irvine, CA.  


After a warm reunion, we set off…


… marching across campus (and raising quite a ruckus in the process!)…


… to a Wendy’s restaurant in the heart of the University of Louisville campus…


… where it was clear, upon our arrival, that someone had gotten there ahead of us!


The energy and excitement of the protest were clear on the faces of the marchers…


… and in their voices…


… catching the attention of hundreds of students passing by…


… and prompting countless conversations across the campus.


Finally, it was time to wrap up…


… but not before a final shout of “We’ll be back!”, a promise that is sure to be fulfilled, as students at the University of Louisville press their administration to “Boot the Braids”.


A perfect day was topped off by a perfect meal and community gathering at Louisville’s La Casita Community Center, one of many, many ally organizations that has made Louisville a home away from home for workers from Immokalee for over a decade.  Our sincerest thanks go out to all our Louisville allies, including Agricultural Missions, the PC USA Hunger Program, La Casita Community Center, Fourth Street Presbyterian Church, Crescent Hill Presbyterian Church, the Kentucky Interfaith Taskforce on Latin America and the Caribbean (KITLAC), the National Farm Worker Ministry, and many more!

In addition to the beautiful photos above, we have a short, spirited video from the march through campus!