Farmworker Freedom March Photo Report

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If it’s a UCC action with farmworkers, Olgha Sandman must be there! There is no one that embodies the leadership of the UCC on the issues of human rights and farm labor justice like Olgha, and she was there again yesterday, leading the way on the 450-person strong march.


Olgha’s indefatigable spirit was matched by the crew from Immokalee, which was led by the CIW’s Women’s Group and drew on the energy of some of Immokalee’s youngest leaders, including this little freedom fighter…

… and her fellow young leaders who headed the procession…

… as the march took to the streets after a short gathering outside the Tampa Convention Center.

Once in the street, the signs did most of the talking…

… including some remarkably imaginative and powerful messages that came straight from the UCC delegates’ hearts and from a theology deeply rooted in justice…

The march swelled as it made its way to its destination…

… the Publix store at at 243 Bayshore Blvd, which was quickly engulfed by the hundreds of protesters.

Once there, the message grew even louder, carried by several local media (here Kent Siladi, the Florida UCC Conference minister, talks with one of the television stations that covered the event)…

… and carried by the protesters themselves, who found their voices in the shade lining the sidewalk outside the Publix store after a hot march under the July sun…


Finally, the march wrapped up with a report from the delegation that spoke with the Publix manager. The meeting, longer than most manager delegations, covered a lot of ground. Rev. Siladi, shown above with the megaphone, told the manager how he had written to Publix almost 2 years ago and still has not received a response. Rev. Jim Boler underscored that the protesters’ patience with Publix is wearing thin, his message backed by the clamorous chants of the crowd.

All in all it was a powerful, moving march, and a perfect reminder to Publix and the rest of the supermarket industry that not only is the Campaign for Fair Food not going away, but it will continue to grow every day, as long as it takes to win.

 

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