Immokalee readies for Wall Street… is Wall Street ready for Immokalee?

Art and music take center stage at CIW’s annual “Fiesta del Año del Trabajador” as farmworkers in Immokalee prepare to take on Wall Street power players investing in Wendy’s… 

Meanwhile New York City-based students, religious leaders, public figures, and community allies mark their calendars to march alongside farmworkers and their families on March 12!

Have you registered yet?

We’re less than one week away from the big Follow the Money March!  Over the last four weeks, a dedicated team of farmworker leaders joined forces with the burgeoning New York Fair Food Committee to take the city by storm, spending every waking moment bringing more and more consumer allies into the Fair Food movement and building support for the Wendy’s Boycott.  Now, with only a few days left before two full buses of farmworkers from Immokalee and their families roll into New York, the advance organizing crew is putting the final touches on the action schedule and buzzing through their last-minute outreach lists.

Today, we bring you an exciting update straight from the tireless crew on the ground in the Big Apple.  But first, let’s take a peek at the preparations taking place in Immokalee ahead of next week’s Follow the Money March

As has been the case since 1996, spring in Immokalee means it’s time to honor the women and men who do the hard work of feeding our nation with the “Fiesta del Año del Trabajador” at the CIW Community Center!  This year’s event drew thousands of farmworkers with an extraordinary line-up of musical talent, folkloric dancing, fun giveaways, and more.  The beautiful photos below speak for themselves:

Photos from CIW’s Fiesta del Año del Trabajador (click for slideshow!)

Leading up to the Fiesta, the CIW Community Center was transformed into a bustling art studio where longtime CIW ally David Solnit and an extraordinary team of artists joined farmworkers in creating a profusion of gorgeous banners, flags, and puppets to send a clear message to the wealthy investors behind Wendy’s brand: Use your power to end sexual assault and poverty in the fields! 

While the CIW Art Team was cranking out hundreds of pieces of protest art for next week’s colorful 3-day march, they were paid a visit by two of New York’s very own Peace Poets, who have been throwing down beats and songs for the Campaign for Fair Food since 2017!  This time, they got the opportunity to collaborate with farmworkers on a brand-new hip hop jam dedicated to CIW’s national boycott against Wendy’s.  Before you continue reading, you must take four minutes to hear the amazing track:

Meanwhile, the advance crew was hard at work in New York City.  And here, without further ado, is the campaign update from the City (and the organizing crew) that Never Sleeps!:

After nearly a month of nonstop organizing throughout New York City’s bustling boroughs, we are ready for the Immokalee caravan to arrive!Since our latest report, we’ve continued establishing connections with the ever-growing social justice community in New York.Top of the list is Middle Collegiate Church — which describes itself as “a multicultural, multi-ethnic, inter-generational movement of Spirit and justice” — whose welcoming community opened its doors for CIW’s Oscar Otzoy to share about the struggles farmworkers confront in the fields and how they can support the only proven model to eradicate those abuses by marching with farmworkers next Thursday.

Next up, we bring you a few highlights from our extensive work with young people — from middle schoolers and high schoolers to university students across the New York area — who are ready to roll for next week’s action!  We’ve spent the last several weeks presenting in dozens upon dozens of classrooms and meetings with organized student groups in NYC.Our wonderful partnership with The Workers Circle is going strong as we continue to reach more and more Jewish youth studying their traditions’s own labor rights history and the contemporary fight for better wages and working conditions in the fields. 

We also had the honor to be invited by the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College for a special screening of the James Beard Award-winning documentary Food Chains with a closing presentation by CIW leaders Lupe Gonzalo and Oscar Otzoy.The screening was a roaring success, with over 70 students and community members in attendance who left the screening inspired to take action with farmworkers in the Wendy’s Boycott!

We have also been showing up for various campaigns and growing movements during our time organizing in the city.CIW leaders supported UNITE HERE’s National Day of Action in solidarity with airport Starbucks workers facing discrimination and pay gaps by leafleting at various Starbucks locations across the city en route to presentations.We’re also continuing to grow our partnership with The Model Alliance, whose worker-driven social responsibility RESPECT Program is seeking an end to gender-based violence in the fashion industry and currently focused on demanding Victoria’s Secret joins!

Comedian and actor Amy Schumer — who most recently expressed her support for the Wendy’s Boycott on Instagram with the gender announcement of her new baby boy! — invited CIW’s Lupe Gonzalo into her home to record a conversation for an upcoming episode of her podcast “3 Girls and 1 Keith” that will feature the CIW’s fight to end sexual assault in the fields.Stay tuned for the episode’s release this spring!

And finally, while organizing with worker-led and grassroots organizations in Queens, Lupe had the opportunity to meet with Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to discuss the transformations taking root on American farms under the Fair Food Program’s unparalleled protections and the upcoming Follow the Money March targeting major Wall Street investors that own millions of stock in Wendy’s, for which the famous freshman Congresswoman expressed her support and solidarity!

The week ahead promises to be a busy one, as we continue to put the final touches on the action and speaking at major International Women’s Day rallies and events while farmworkers make their way to New York! 

News of the Follow the Money march is spreading like wildfire across the city — so make sure you’re registered to join CIW for the last three miles on March 12 at 4 p.m. at Union Square Park. You’re not going to want to miss it! The frustration brewing among consumers in New York regarding Wendy’s stance on human rights for farmworkers is perfectly summed up in this Tweet:

See you in New York next week!