Birth of an American Human Rights Movement?…

Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

CIW members join 4.8 million women, men and children in marches across the country — and around the globe — in resounding support of human rights for all! 

As you have almost certainly heard, this past Saturday was an historic 24 hours, not only in hundreds of cities across the U.S., but on every single continent across the globe.  Millions of men, women and children poured into the streets of Washington, D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, London, Nairobi, New Delhi, Singapore and over 650 other cities to declare that people of the world would not allow the growing (and terribly misnamed) “populist” movement, rooted in fear and repression, to turn back the clock on their civil, political, and fundamental human rights.  

Although virtually nothing could capture the size and infectious energy of the marches, this stunning video gives a taste of the sheer magnitude of the historic march in Washington, DC:

“The Fair Food Nation will be there…”

For those of us here in Immokalee, Saturday’s massive outpouring of action in support of fundamental human rights brought to mind a reflection we posted on this site in the immediate aftermath of the election last November.  Here is a brief excerpt from that post:

… the Fair Food movement is fundamentally a human rights movement, a broad and inclusive human rights movement.  And that, perhaps more than any other factor, has been the secret to its success.

If we as Americans are to protect the fragile progress toward ever-greater social justice that we have made across the generations, we must fight together, in a broad and inclusive movement to protect our rights — immigrant rights, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, civil rights, labor rights, our right to health care, our right to religious freedom, our right to a clean and sustainable environment, our right to a fair and equitable economy, and more — our human rights.  If each of those sectors faces the challenge alone, we will be weak, we will be on the defensive, and we may lose ground.  Together, however, we can define the agenda, one that fosters a vision of universal human rights, and we can win. 

America has given birth to many great movements across the centuries, from the fight against monarchy to the fight for universal civil rights.  In this new century, perhaps it is time for a new American movement — the American human rights movement.  

If so, the Fair Food Nation will be there.

As promised, at the first of hopefully many such actions in this much-needed human rights movement, the Fair Food Nation was there in force!  The day before the march, 30 CIW members and allies piled into three vans for a 20-hour drive to Washington, D.C. to participate in the largest of the world’s marches that day, which is now estimated to have been over 1 million people!

First, we got properly bundled up… 

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… got ahold of some signs… 

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… and joined the throngs of fellow marchers heading into the historic action!

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Whether Saturday was the first time you had ever joined strangers in the streets in protest…

Philadelphia / Jacqueline Larma/Associated Press

Philadelphia / Jacqueline Larma/Associated Press

… or, like many on Saturday, you had already seen your fair share of marches…

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Toronto/Globe and Mail

… you could not help but be stirred by the power of millions of souls gathered together in defense of the deeply-held values — equal justice, dignity, and fundamental human rights for all — for which so many have fought, and even given their lives, for generations…

New York City / Nicole Craine for The New York Times

New York City / Nicole Craine for The New York Times

What’s next?…

The Women’s Marches around the world, which consistently overwhelmed projected numbers, were for many people the first real ray of hope after months of growing uncertainty and fear.  Indeed, the marches gave a face — millions of faces, in fact — to the precise kind of vibrant, inclusive, positive, broad-based, and undeniably powerful human rights movement that we will need in the years ahead to defend our collective rights.  Now is the moment to channel the incredible momentum created by last weekend’s actions into an broad, well-organized human rights movement.  

One of the many actions to put on your calendar for 2017 is, of course, the Return to Human Rights Tour in March!  Thousands of supporters of farmworkers’ fundamental human rights will be coming together in Columbus, Ohio, and across the country to demand that Wendy’s join the Fair Food Program.  We hope you will join the Tour and become a part of, as described in the Washington Post, “one of the great human rights success stories of our day”!

Check out the route for the Return to Human Rights Tour, share it far and wide, and stay tuned for more on the tour in the weeks ahead!