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 2: Atlanta/Nashville & Montgomery/Memphis

Day 1: Departure from Immokalee & Tallahassee



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Cincinnati (East) & Memphis/St. Louis (West)

West tour photos © Jacques-Jean Tiziou /


As in the fields, each day on the Truth Tour is long and demanding. Day Three was no exception as the farmworkers from Immokalee and allies took their message of human rights into the very heartland of America: the Midwest. Against a backdrop of cold winter weather (especially for the crew from southwest Florida!), the Truth Tour was heating things up with a string of actions and educational forums spanning St.Louis (above) to Cincinnati.

The East leg departed from Nashville, TN early Wednesday morning and began the long drive to Cincinnati. Along the way, workers took turns honing their multimedia skills and interviewing each other. Who knows? Maybe this footage will wind up in the next CIW film!

Once they arrived in Ohio, the Truth Tour riders -- with sock hats and gloves in tow -- joined forces with students from the University of Cincinnati to protest at a Taco Bell near campus. The picket received plenty of supportive honks from passing cars, and several would-be customers turned away after learning of the sweatshop conditions imposed on the farmworkers who pick Taco Bell's tomatoes.

After the lively action, it was time to thaw out. A teach-in at the University of Cincinnati provided the ideal setting not only to warm up but to engage in a dialogue about the harsh realities of agricultural labor and the untold potential for students and workers to fight together to change these conditions.

And, of course, there was time for some good, clean fun as UC students led tour participants in some cumbia dancing. (In the background, an exhausted member of the Truth Tour tech team passes on the opportunity to get down and instead tries to catch up on some much-needed rest).

The East leg's day ended at First Unitarian Church where local union leaders cooked a fabulous tamale dinner and held a forum on labor rights. The event brought together participants from FLOC, SEIU, and the Justice for Janitors campaign, among others. After presentations by the CIW and Student/Farmworker Alliance, a lengthy conversation ensued about tackling the challenges facing workers in the 21st century. By the end of the night, the CIW had won a bevy of new supporters in Cincinnati who pledged to support the Taco Bell boycott until the company takes the necessary steps to clean up human rights abuses in its supply chain.

Next up for the East leg: Cleveland, OH!

Day Three for the West leg began in Memphis, TN at the Lorraine Motel -- the site of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination and home to the National Civil Rights Museum. That the Truth Tour crossed paths with King's legacy in Atlanta, Montgomery, and Memphis is but a small indication of Dr. King's undeniable impact on the social and historical fabric of the South. The significance was certainly not lost on the tour participants that Dr. King died in Memphis while supporting striking sanitation workers and their struggle for economic human rights.

Inside the museum, workers took time to learn more about African Americans' hard struggle for civil rights in the United States...

...and reflect upon the connections between those struggles and the one the workers are fighting today.

Outside the museum, in the fateful parking lot of the Lorraine Motel (you can see the infamous balcony in the background), workers held a press conference to commuinicate their message of economic human rights -- the very rights King died defending -- to the broader Memphis public.

Continuing on towards St. Louis, team spirits were high as two crew members entertained the rest with an impromptu dance party. It seems that dancing was indeed a common theme for Day Three of the two-legged tour... was do-it-yourself media. In this birds-eye snapshot, workers gather to learn radio broadcast skills from Pacifica Radio's Andrew Stelzer. Workers will later be producing their own radio documentary for Free Speech Radio News. Without a doubt, the skills will also prove useful for the CIW's own low-power FM radio station in Immokalee: Radio Consciencia.

Upon arriving in St. Louis, the team split into two groups. One contingent took to the classrooms of Washington University, while the rest of the crew rallied outside a local Taco Bell for a brief -- but undeniably enthusiastic -- protest.

... which Taco Bell no doubt appreciated.

Following the protest, the group returned to Washington U's beautiful campus ... meet with students who are waging a passionate fight to Boot the Bell from their campus!

Judging by the looks of it, the prospect of a campus free of sweatshop tacos sounded like a good idea to the students at Washington University. The event left them energized not only to Boot the Bell but also to join the CIW in Louisville on March 12th!

At the end of another hard -- but fulfilling -- day on the road, workers settled down to think back on the day's accomplishments and rest up for the long day ahead.

Next up for the West leg: Bloomington and Indianapolis, IN!

Click here for more photos from Day 3!

Click here for photos & reports from Day 4!

And don't miss this great new article in the Louisville Eccentric Observer: "You say tomato, I say sweatshop" (3/2)