Trader Joe’s set to open first Florida store… on Immokalee Road!

This should be interesting…

On February 10, Trader Joe’s will be opening its first store in Florida. Where? About 30 miles from Immokalee, on the road that connects Immokalee to Naples.

While this is surely a coincidence, it is one that cannot be ignored, and workers from Immokalee, together with their Southwest Florida allies, are planning a warm welcome for their newest neighbor.

On Friday, Feb. 10, farmworkers will bike the 35 miles to the corner of Immokalee Road and 41 in Naples where they will hold a protest and press conference in conjunction with Trader Joe’s grand opening celebration.

Then, on Sunday, Feb. 12, starting at 2:00 pm, workers will be joined by their Southwest Florida allies for a massive march and protest outside the new store. Check back in the days ahead for more details on what are sure to be two exciting actions.

To help spread the word about the upcoming Trader Joe’s protests — and to pay homage to a man whose example of consciousness and commitment is still helping bring about change more than 40 years after his untimely death — CIW members will be attending several Martin Luther King Day events around south Florida this weekend, including marches in Ft. Myers, Naples, and Lakeland. If you are in the area, join us!

One dear friend who, sadly, will no longer be marching with us for farm labor justice is Meg Hutchins (shown here, with white hat, in the foreground holding the banner).

Meg was one of the CIW’s earliest allies and a founding member of Religious Leaders Concerned, the precursor organization to today’s Interfaith Action of Southwest Florida. Her obituary reads, in part, “While living in Bonita Springs and later Estero, she was vitally active in church reform, local environmental issues and social justice causes, especially advocating for the rights of the Immokalee tomato pickers.”

Meg passed away on January 4th after a courageous battle with cancer. Her funeral service will be held at the Our Lady of Light Church, January 21 at 11 am in Estero. We hope to see you there.