I am the CIW!
¡Soy yo la Coalicion!

Julia Gabriel:
"Como trabajadores y mujeres, tenemos que luchar por nuestros derechos y contra la violencia tanto en la labor como en la casa"
"As women and as workers, we have to fight for our rights and against violence both in the fields and in our own homes"

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You and your friends -- your fellow students, neighbors, co-workers, or members of your church -- are the very heart of this campaign!

If you have come to this site because you want to help make FAIR FOOD a reality, you can use the tools below to bring the Taco Bell boycott to your community.

But, first... Please consider donating to the CIW! We need your support to keep the boycott, the anti-slavery campaign, and everything else we do going strong!

Click on the Pay Pal link below to send a secure donation now!

Now, here are some great tools for organizing at home:

CIW Listserve
join and stay updated on the boycott

Action Alert
a concise explanation of the boycott with contact info for TB

Sample Press Releases
use them as a model for your own actions at home

post 'em everywhere, they really do work

E-mail Petition
send an email to Emil (Emil Brolick, TB's CEO)

Or, send an automated fax to Emil Brolick, Taco Bell CEO, from this link on the United Church of Christ web site - It's easy and a great way to support the boycott without even getting up from your seat!

Thanks for joining us, and don't forget to send us any news, photos, or media reports on actions in your community -- we'll post them as soon as we can and your action can help motivate thousands of visitors to the site across the country!

Coalition of Immokalee Workers


1995 General Strike
Immokalee, Florida

The CIW is today spear-heading the Taco Bell boycott. But before we launched the national boycott in April of 2001, we had been organizing locally for many years in an effort to modernize labor relations in Florida's fields, improve wages and working conditions for our members, and eliminate modern-day slavery.

To learn more about the history of the Coalition, you can go to the CIW site where you'll find all the non-Taco Bell info on the Coalition from 1995 to 2001, including past CIW campaigns, Press Archives, Photo Galleries, and more!

1997 General Strike
Immokalee, Florida

Or, you can simply click on some of the links here below to go directly to the pages from the CIW site that interest you... just remember to hit the back button on your browser to return to the boycott site!:







As poor people and people of color in South Florida who suffer the most direct impacts of corporate-led globalization, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, the Miami Workers Center, and Power U joined together to form "Root Cause", to express our belief that everyone, no matter their place of birth, ethnicity, gender or sexual identity, has the right to:

* Healthcare
* A living wage
* Fair working conditions
* Decent housing
* Equal access to education
* A clean living and working environment
* And a voice in the decisions that shape our lives

The Root Cause People's March -- a three day, 34-mile march to Miami, where trade ministers from throughout the hemisphere were meeting to negotiate, in secret, the future of trade policy for 34 countries of the Americas -- was our way to express our concerns about corporate-led free trade and to describe our vision of a better world, based on democratic participation, that we are organizing to make a reality. The photos and story below are from the third and final day of that march.

Day Three started out like the previous two days of the 34-mile march to Miami, with blue skies and a strong Florida sun beaming down from above. Here, marchers take advantage of the lead flatbed to rest some tired feet.

The CIW contingent was going strong, including Julia Gabriel (white bandana), one of the three RFK Human Rights Award laureates who participated in the march before heading to DC for the award ceremony on the 20th.

Of course, the march brought people together from across the country, including members of the United Workers Association, an organization of labor pool workers from Baltimore, Md...

... and this member of the Family Farm Defenders' "Mad Cow Bloc" from Madison, WI... who, here engaged in a serious strategic discussion on free trade, was udderly disgusted with the impact of neoliberal policies on family farmers both here in the US and throughout the hemisphere...

Energy was high as we started out on the final day, including that of Reverend Marta Burke with the Fulford United Methodist Church (in the blue t-shirt), who generously allowed hundreds of marchers to sleep on the grounds of her church the night before, then showed solidarity above and beyond the call of duty, joining us on the road!

Energy levels subsided as the day wore on, of course, but not the marchers commitment, which never flagged over the 34 mile route.

And keeping marchers' spirits high and positive were the members of the march animation crew, who DJ'ed, chanted...

... and sang non-stop for three days, not letting anyone take their eyes off the prize of getting to Miami and making our voices heard as communities that live the most direct impacts of corporate-led globalization on a daily basis.

A shout of much respect and gratitude goes out to the members of POWER from San Francisco and the Miami Workers Center, who kept us all moving forward during those three long, hot days.

Our leafleters also worked non-stop during the march, making sure bystanders heard and understood our message (our other leafleters, not pictured here, were a little better at the dialogue part of the job...) ...

... a message that was received with an incredible wave of smiles, honks, and thumbs up all along the route, even several stories above the street where our leafleters couldn't reach...

... well, alright, there were some -- very few -- Miami natives who didn't seem to take so kindly to the march, like this one here who wore this rather grim, unchanging expression as the marchers filed by... (a real iguana, by the way, sitting in trees along the march route!)...

But most were like this man, who graciously made his feelings known with his own little sign.

The press was everywhere, and impressed with the level of organization in the march. While media coverage in the days leading up to the march focused on possible clashes with the police, the press actually had to cover the issues -- working class people's issues -- during the three days of the Root Cause march. Here Lucas Benitez of the CIW talks with the Spanish-language television channel Univision...

While Francisca Cortez of the CIW talks with another reporter as the march stopped outside of the INS office on Biscayne Blvd.

The march made three stops on the final day, before ending up in front of the fence surrounding the economic ministers in downtown Miami. Here, at the first stop in front of Miami's INS offices, marchers draw the connection between immigration issues and free trade policies, which displace poor rural people throughout the Americas from the land they have worked for generations and force them into a desperate migration in search of a way to feed their families in the new global economy, where corporate agriculture rules the market.

Marlene Bastien, of FANM (Haitian Women of Miami) makes the point forcefully, calling for the release of all Haitian immigrants detained in violation of their human rights by INS authorities.

Then, as the march continued to grow throughout the day, it was on to Taco Bell...

... where marchers took the CIW's message of "not just fast, but FAIR, food" to this Biscayne Blvd. restaurant, which was very, very well guarded by hundreds of police (who, by some miracle, are not in this picture)...

Gerardo Reyes and Francisca Cortez of the CIW led the chants outside Taco Bell...

... their message artfully echoed by this sign, prepared and carried by some fine people from California who joined the march on the final day, complete with some eye-catching tomato costumes (which you can just barely see on the left of the photo and behind the woman holding up the sign on the right)...

... and echoed further down the now quite long line of marchers by two old CIW friends who traveled to the march from North Carolina!

... and echoed, once again, in this simple sign, reminding the world that there is no food without the people who break their backs working every day to get it from the field to your table, yet don't earn enough themselves to adequately feed their own children.

The march moved on from Taco Bell down Biscayne...

... and continued to grow as it did, arriving at its final stop before the fence in downtown Miami, here at the Miami Dade School Board building...

... where Denise Perry of Miami's Power U led the call to fight the privatization of our schools and to return schools to community control so that all of our children may have access to the highest quality education possible.

From the School Board, there was only one stop left -- at the fences in Miami's downtown that the police had erected to keep the FTAA ministerial meetings private, secret, and free of participation by the very people whose lives were at stake in the negotiations over the FTAA.

By the time we reached the fences, the march had swelled to well over 1,000 people. The police still out-numbered us, though, as nearly 3,000 police surrounded the march, fully ready to attack those gathered in protest with a complete arsenal of weapons (from rubber bullets to tazers), as they would two days later in a totally outrageous attack on marchers' human and civil rights during actions on Thursday, Nov. 20th.

And though the crowd was huge and spirited -- big enough to apparently either shake the ground or shake our photographer, as the rest of the evenings' photos are even worse than this one... -- the police remained calm, including the several undercover police dressed as "anarchists" spotted throughout the crowd, complete with their spanking new Eddie Bauer anarchist duds and their backpacks full of police tools ready to break out once they're done provoking their fellow police with undercover "violence"...

Fortunately for all those involved, no such thing ever had a chance to develop, as the same discipline and respect that marked the first 33 miles of the march carried us through the final mile, as well. So -- after leaving the fences intact, and more than a few faux anarchists sadly disappointed -- the marchers wrapped up a wholly successful three days of struggle with a rally/concert in Miami's Bayfront Park, with the able MC'ing of none other than Jaribu Hill of the Mississippi Workers Center (above), who, as always, kept the program tight throughout the four-hour show.

About midway through the rally, we were joined by a large contingent of religious allies for a candlelight vigil...

... candles that conveniently doubled as lighters during the second half of the night's music program!

A program headlined by the CIW's two favorite bands, bar none -- Slowrider out of Los Angeles, pictured here above, who we definitely plan to see again at our action outside Taco Bell in late February, 2004...

... and JG & Havikenhayes out of Ft. Lauderdale (though to us it seems like they're just straight out of Immokalee!). Both bands rocked the rally and raised the marchers' spirits even higher, which was no easy task after three such intense days as those we had just lived in the Root Cause People's March.

Again, our thanks go out to all that participated and made the march possible. Special thanks -- no, thanks is not the word, really, more like just a huge shout out -- to our compañeros at the Miami Workers Center and Power U, the other two thirds of Root Cause and ideal partners in this collaboration in struggle that is sure to continue to grow and gain power in the months and years ahead!

"Root, Root Cause, Root Root, Root Cause!..."



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