Let the sun shine! The Fair Food spirit brings the sun out with joyful action in Asheville, NC…

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Now is the Time Tour met with warm welcome in Western North Carolina!

After a heartwarming (if bitterly cold) stay in North Carolina’s Triangle Area, the CIW headed west yesterday to gather for a protest at the site of a future Publix in Asheville, North Carolina — a first for the Campaign for Fair Food, a Publix protest without an actual Publix (note the add-on at the bottom of the real estate sign below)!…

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But we’ve faced tougher challenges before (like launching a national Campaign for Fair Food in 2001 when no one in the world had even heard of Fair Food before, for example…), so we were undaunted as we made our way west.  And indeed our faith in the Fair Food Nation was well-placed, because as the bus rolled up to the site of the future Publix, what would we see but over 50 students and community members already gathered there awaiting our arrival in the parking lot!  With a mini bus from Warren Wilson college, and dozens of representatives from the National Farmworker Ministry, the Trinity Presbyterian Church, Nuestro CentroCircle of Mercy Church, the Western North Carolina Worker Center, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Asheville, and Defensa Comunitaria, the edge of the street quickly filled with marching feet and the air with protest chants.  Here below is a quick selection of pictures from the action (be sure to head over to the gallery page of the tour website to check out more):

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At the end of Day Three, after a high-spirited send off from our new friends in Asheville, we traveled to the edge of Tennessee to visit our long-time allies at Appalachia’s famed Highlander Center.  After quite a few days on the road, the mountain air (and the view!) filled us all with a fresh wave of energy…

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… as well as some fresh inspiration to continue our struggle, as the mountain air is not the only thing you breathe in when visiting Highlander.  The center’s unparalleled history as a hub for many of the past century’s most important economic and civil rights movements — Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King are just two of the thousands of social justice leaders who have sat in the center’s storied circle of rocking chairs — is everywhere around you as you enter its sanctuary…

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In thanking our gracious hosts and friends at Highlander, one member summarized the experience beautifully:  “Many threads are woven into the history of this place — and with every new visitor, a new thread is added, making it ever more beautiful and strong.  We are honored to be here.”

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Finally, we want to close today’s post with a second video, because Day 2’s vigil in the historic Duke University Chapel was simply too beautiful not to share in full.  Today’s two videos, that at the top of the post and this below, capture the full scope of the Fair Food spirit.  One is quiet and somber, reflecting the deeply held faith that we are on the right path, on the road to writing a new chapter in farm labor history through our collective action.  The other is bright and exuberant, capturing those moments when good people join together to creatively and joyfully bring a new, more humane world into being.  We hope you enjoy both.

With North Carolina in our rearview mirror (though not for long, we hope!), we now look ahead to the first major action of the Tour in Columbus, Ohio, where a vigil and concert for International Women’s Day and the big March on Wendy’s await the Immokalee crew, as well as hundreds of allies streaming in from across the country.  Stay tuned for more!