Days Seven and Eight: Fair Food fight in Nashville and Civil Rights history in Atlanta…

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Tour crew members listen as longtime civil rights activist and CIW friend Charles Black shares the tragic story of Emmet Till’s young life and death during a tour of Atlanta’s National Center for Civil and Human Rights on Day 8 of the Workers’ Voice Tour.

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.): “You have made us a better church by asking us to join this great cause.”

The Workers’ Voice Tour continued to make its way home on Days 7 and 8, stopping in Nashville and Atlanta before ending Day 8 in Gainesville, Florida, ready for the next day’s action at the Wendy’s located in the heart of the University of Florida campus.  Amidst many hours of travel and ahead of the weekend’s big actions in Florida, the tour crew as well as fellow workers from Nashville’s Dignidad Obrera took a moment during our evening in Nashville to reflect on the profound experience of being on the Workers’ Voice Tour, which we have compiled into a short but powerful video:

Next up, we have a quick report from Days 7 and 8:

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Day 7 began where the Taco Bell Boycott ended eleven years ago, outside the Louisville home offices of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).  Before leaving Louisville for Nashville, the Tour crew was hosted by the Presbyterian Hunger Program for a delicious lunch with the leadership and staff of the PCUSA.

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An excellent article on the CIW’s visit published on the PC(U.S.A.) website reported from the luncheon: 

… Several church leaders addressed the group including Stated Clerk Gradye Parsons and PMA Interim Executive Director Tony De La Rosa.

“You have made us a better church by asking us to join this great cause,” Parsons said. “Sometimes you have to make some noise and make people uncomfortable, but we will stand with you until every worker is treated with the dignity they deserve.”

“As a fellow Latino, I would not be in this position if it were not for your work for justice,” said De La Rosa, thanking CIW for opening doors for so many. “Our church is changing every day and that change is happening because you are advocating justice for the workers in the fields, cities and throughout our country.”

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And speaking of making some noise… After lunch in Louisville, the Tour crew packed up the bus and vans and headed south to Nashville… 

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… for a spirited protest outside a Music City Wendy’s restaurant.

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The infectious joy of the protesters…

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… caught the approving eye of more than a few motorists…

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… and even more truck drivers during the rush hour protest, whose nearly constant chorus of honks in support of the action accompanied the Tour crew’s chants in an truly impressive making-of-noise for justice.

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Then it was on to a delicious dinner and music with our friends from Dignidad Obrera, hosted by the Woodbine Methodist Church.  The church building was pressed into service when it became clear that the Dignidad Obrera center, the original location for the evening’s events, wasn’t going to be able to accommodate the 100+ overflow party of Tour members and Nashville allies, including students, church youth group members, local musicians, and members of Dignidad Obrera itself (many of whom themselves had only recently returned from participating in the big march in Columbus).  Here above, workers and Nashville allies line the street in front of the church in anticipation of the tour bus’ arrival before of the dinner…

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… while here CIW members thank Pastor Carlos Uroza of the Woodbine Methodist Church one last time for the dinner and hospitality before leaving to bed down for the night.

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On Day 8, the Tour made its way to Atlanta and the city’s still relatively new Center for Civil and Human Rights (the center was opened to the public in July of 2014).

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The museum’s compelling interactive displays, like this one where visitors are encouraged to sit at a lunch counter and — with headphones over their ears filling the audioscape with the chilling sounds of a growing, violent mob — close their eyes and imagine themselves in the place of the original sit-in protesters who fought to desegregate Southern lunch counters, …

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… and unique artifacts, like this wall filled with over 400 mug shots of young Freedom Riders arrested for attempting to desegregate public facilities in Mississippi, …

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… gave Tour members plenty to think about as they reflected on their own fight for economic justice and human rights today and the incalculable debt they owed to those who fought, and even died, for our rights in generations past.

Next up: Gainesville!