Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade with Rolando the Clown

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For years, the McDonald’s corporation and local McDonald’s owners have participated in Chicago’s famous Thanksgiving Day Parade. Their floats (and, this year, McDonad’s lead sponsorship of the parade) have served to remind Chicagoans and the country of just how much, in the words of a press release for this year’s parade, “McDonald’s cares about our communities and our children…” (never mind the trans fats they can’t seem to get out of their food…).

But this year, thanks to McDonald’s continuing refusal to work with the CIW to demand fair labor standards for the workers who pick their tomatoes, Ronald McDonald had a little company… Is that?… Could it be?… Why yes it is, none other than Ronaldo the Clown, Ronald’s ethical half-brother, leading his crew of justice-minded helpers in spreading the word at this year’s parade about the human rights crisis in Florida’s tomato fields and how McDonald’s has acted to undermine workers’ efforts to end labor abuses in the fields.
While his friends made sure that parade goers saw the big picture of farm labor exploitation behind fast-food profits with this simple but powerful banner outside a McDonald’s along the parade route…

… Rolando himself went one-on-one with thousands of Chicagoans…

… Handing out flyers with the facts about McDonald’s efforts to roll back farmworkers wage gains and push workers away from the table where decisions are made about their working lives.

As always, Rolando brought smiles to the faces of hundreds of new friends, both small…

… and big, as he went about his tireless work of righting the wrongs wrought by his rich and powerful half-brother.

Finally, as the last equestrian unit clip-clopped by and the floats made their way back into storage for next year’s parade, Rolando’s big day came to an end. But Rolando’s job never ends — never, that is, until his brother Ronald sees the light and gives farmworkers the respect they are due for putting the meal in Happy Meals on thousands of tables every day across the country. Stay tuned, as this is surely not the last Rolando sighting in the weeks and months ahead!