Coalition of Immokalee Workers 2005 Taco Bell Truth Tour

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Victory Celebration & Rally for Farmworker Justice

"Our World, Our Rights" Conference on Global Justice

Day 9: Press Conference @ Yum Brands

Day 8: Louisville, KY

Day 7: Louisville, KY

Day 6: Arrival in Louisville

Day 5: Ohio & Chicago

Day 4: Ohio & Indiana

Day 3: Cincinnati & Memphis/St. Louis

Day 1: Departure from Immokalee & Tallahassee



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Atlanta /Nashville (East) & Montgomery/Memphis (West)

West tour photos © Jacques-Jean Tiziou /


On the 2nd day of the 2005 Taco Bell Truth Tour, farmworkers and their allies fanned out across the Southeastern United States, taking their message to the streets as well as the classrooms.

While geography may have separated the two crews, they were united in their practice of time-honored principles of the Truth Tour: reflection and action. (Above, the East leg braves the bitter cold for some spirited action outside a Taco Bell in Atlanta, GA.)

After the long drive from Southwest Florida to Atlanta on Day One, the participants on the East leg of the tour were ready to get down to business on Tuesday. They kicked things off in style with a series of classroom presentations at Georgia State University.

As has been the experience on Truth Tours past, the farmworkers were warmly received by the students. The ensuing dialogue revealed a genuine concern about the intersection of human rights abuses and the fast-food industry. One couldn't help but notice the stark contrast between these engaged young people and the so-called "New Hedonism Generation" -- the label Taco Bell's marketers use to describe the company's target demographic of 18-to-24 year-olds.

Another common thread uniting both legs of the tour was the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. After a morning in the classrooms, the CIW and their allies paid a visit to nearby Ebenezer Baptist Church, the historic site where Dr. King led a congregation and the civil rights movement.

The tour also stopped by Dr. King's tomb and memorial. While quietly contemplating his message of human rights and nonviolent social change, the workers from Immokalee posed for this solemn picture.

Before long, it was time to get back to Georgia State for an afternoon rally with our friends from the U.S. Human Rights Network and Jobs with Justice. Although the temperature oustide was sub-freezing, everyone was energized and ready to put the days lessons into action.

The feisty afternoon protest -- which united the Tour crew with local supporters, including some members of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, who were staging their own picket a few blocks away -- was the perfect way to draw our time in Atlanta to a close. After wrapping up, it was back on the bus and onwards to Tennessee.

Without so much as missing a beat, the East leg of the tour pulled into Nashville just in time for a sunset protest. The tour was warmly welcomed by allies from the Tennessee Economic Renewal Network, the Nashville Peace & Justice Center, LIVE (Living Income for Vanderbilt Employees), a slew of local high school students...

... and a very talented man on stilts who was proud to "stand tall with farmworkers."

Despite having already put in a long day, the East tour crew had one more stop: a teach-in at Vanderbilt University with members of LIVE. The students were so animated by the presentation they solidified plans to start a new Boot the Bell campaign at Vanderbilt! If successful, Vanderbilt would join 21 other high schools and colleges who have taken a stand with farmworkers in their fight for dignity and against sweatshop wages.

Next up for the East leg: Cincinnati, OH!

While the East leg was turning up the heat on Taco Bell in Atlanta, the West leg was doing the same, beginning the day in Montgomery, Alabama, an appropriate tour stop given the proud history of the people of Montgomery in using boycotts to fight for social justice.

After volunteers from Immanuel Presbyterian Church served a delicious breakfast, tour riders extended their appreciation to such wonderful hosts. Here, Gerardo Reyes Chavez of the CIW presents a gift to them for their generous hospitality: a picture of an Immokalee tomato picker's hands after a hard day's work in the fields.

These new friends from Immanuel escorted the Truth Tour to downtown Montgomery. After an enthusiastic march the tour participants and Montgomery allies conducted a press conference addressing the dire conditions farmworkers face in the agricultural industry.

At the Alabama State House, farmworkers took to the podium highlighting injustices in Florida's fields as well as describing the unique opportunity Taco Bell and Yum Brands have to transform the industry by cleaning up systemic human rights abuses in their supply chain.

Members of the Student/Farmworker Alliance also told reporters how and why young people and students, Taco Bell's primary target market, are serving as powerful allies in the farmworkers' fight for justice.

After the press conference, the march continued on to Dexter Avenue Church, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had once served as pastor. There tour participants drew links between the civil rights movement and the farmworkers' campaign today for a just wage.

Robert F. Kennedy is one of many heroes whose likeness is featured in the church's mural (above). Since 2003, the human rights center bearing his name has served as an influencial partner of the CIW. In fact, RFK's daughter, Kerry Kennedy, will be joining the CIW at the national rally oustide Yum Brands global headquarters in Louisville, KY on March 12th.

Sitting in Dr. King's sanctuary proved inspiring for

... and the opportunity for reflection left tour participants with the sense that his noble mission remains as relevant today as ever.

Soon, it was time to hit the road again. Next destination: Memphis, Tennessee.

In Memphis, riders were treated to a great dinner by the local Food not Bombs (above) before splitting the team in half to speak at Rhodes College and the University of Memphis. The trip to University of Memphis was especially significant for the workers since students there won their Boot the Bell campaign back in Spring of 2003!

Like the students at Georgia State, the students at Rhodes and U. Memphis were both attentive and inquisitive. After the presentation, many students began making plans to reunite with the tour in Louisville for the March 12th national convergence.

While most of the discussion was quite serious, the presentation at Rhodes College also had its share of lighter moments, spurring laughter and participation from the audience.

Even after the crowd poured out, farmworkers
remained determined in their mission...

...and pumped up for Day 3 of the Truth Tour, where the Western leg will take its message to St. Louis, MO.

Click here for more photos from Day 2!

Click here for photos & reports from Day 3!