“YEAR OF THE WORKER 2007″CIW BLOCK PARTY!

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“YEAR OF THE WORKER 2007″
CIW BLOCK PARTY!


There was a party in Immokalee this past Sunday…


… a CIW block party, our annual “Year of the Worker” celebration, because in Immokalee, every year is the year of the worker.

But this year’s party wasn’t just a celebration– it was also a call to action, a mobilization for the 2007 “Behind the Golden Arches Tour” set to begin in just two weeks.


The official welcome kicked off the event around noon…

… and was given, of course, in several of the languages spoken in Immokalee, including the indigenous languages of Mam…

… and Kanjobal.

Central Committee members staffed a busy information table from start to finish, spreading word of the coming tour and the details of the 10-day trek for those looking to participate.

Before long the party swelled, growing to fill the street…

… and overflowing the street…

… into what would be the biggest Year of the Worker party yet!

For some sense of perspective, these two pictures together form a panorama of just part of the crowd.

The day-long event mixed fun, like this reggaeton dance performance by some of Immokalee’s youngest stars, accompanied by two of the CIW’s steadfast clown brigade (“Los Payasos Justicieros”)…

… and this somewhat more mature dance contest, led by yet another of our clown friends (moved to action by the shameful betrayal of clowning principles by their fallen cousin Ronald, the clowns have become a staple of CIW events over the past couple of years…)

… with more serious messages, like this presentation by friends from the Sheriff’s Department on how to fight human trafficking and forced labor…


… a message that was not lost on a community called “ground zero for modern-day slavery” by one federal prosecutor, and a message that will be taken to McDonald’s global headquarters this April, where — almost incredibly — the question must still be asked: Can McDonald’s guarantee that its tomatoes are not picked by workers in forced labor?


Music filled the day, with performances by a number of up and coming bands with Immokalee roots…

… including everyone’s winner of this year’s battle of the bands, La Oscuridad de la Sierra. Look for this band in the coming years, because they were good.

Some mid-party adjustments kept the party going, re-tying down the tarp that a brisk breeze threatened to lift off the stage more than once…

… and re-tying a shoe that kept this party-goer from seeing the stage for a sad couple of minutes.

And though the party was a great way to forget the daily grind of work in the fields, reality was never far away. CIW members used tomato buckets to collect donations for the families of the five people, including two children, killed in the tragic trailer fire that shook Immokalee just weeks ago…

… and all kept firmly in mind, throughout the day, the campaign to end the exploitation that has locked Immokalee into poverty and degradation for so many years, and the tour, now just two weeks away, to take that campaign to McDonald’s doorstep. Next stop — Chicago! See you there…