Day Fourteen Photo Report: Spectacular day, beautiful rally, perfect lead-up to final miles of
Tampa Tribune article provides penetrating look into Publix's untenable rejection of Fair Food Program... and all the motivation you'll ever need to join us for the culmination of the March for Rights, Respect, and Fair Food in Lakeland!
We will let the Tampa Bay Times open today's update because, well, because they nailed it:
"TAMPA — They marched 200 miles. Through heat, rain and wind, the tomato pickers kept walking. At night, they collapsed in churches hosting them on their journey and bandaged their blistered and bleeding feet. Each morning they awoke before sunrise and continued on.
Today, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers will end their two-week trek at the Publix headquarters in Lakeland.
There, they will plead their case.
The coalition is asking Publix to join 11 other partners in the Fair Food Program, an initiative based on two pillars: wage increases supported by a price premium paid by corporate purchasers, and a code of conduct grounded in civil rights.
The 11 partners stem from the food service industry and fast food restaurants, such as Whole Foods Market, McDonald's, Burger King and Trader Joe's. The coalition hopes that if it can get Publix, a Florida-based company, on board, then other grocers such as Walmart will follow.
'I make this journey with much pride,' tomato picker Ubaldo Ruiz, 66 (pictured above), said through a translator, when the group stopped for lunch Wednesday in Ybor City.
Ruiz and others are giving up two weeks of work and pay to join the march.
'I'm losing more by staying there working but not doing anything about the situation than coming here and having blisters on my feet and bleeding between my toes,' he said. 'This is my sacrifice.'" read more
Read the rest of the Tampa Bay Times front page Sunday article, "Immokalee Workers march through area on way to Publix headquarters," first.
Then check out the Photo Report from Day Fourteen for more on the penultimate day of the March for Rights, Respect, and Fair Food.
And then, if you live in the state of Florida, care about human rights, and still need more motivation to join us this afternoon for the final miles of the 200-mile march to Publix headquarters (or just for the final rally, if marching isn't your thing), then read this op/ed by author, speaker and prominent evangelical theologian Brian Mclaren.
It is, literally, the op/ed too hot for the Lakeland Ledger, as Publix's hometown paper somehow decided that a beautifully written piece on an indisputably important topic to local readers by a nationally respected religious leader and best selling author didn't make the grade to be published in their paper. So, here's an excerpt, and you can read the rest of "Angels in Lakeland" here:
"Lakeland will have some important visitors this weekend. The whole city - and especially the executives of Lakeland’s (and Florida’s) number one corporation - need to choose how they’ll be welcomed.
Who are these visitors? They are ambassadors of a sort.
They don’t represent a nation like China or Brazil or Greece. Nor do they represent a religion - Buddhism or Islam or Roman Catholicism. These guests to Lakeland, traveling 200 miles on foot as an expression of their desire to make meaningful contact, represent a group of people whom our nation - and our state - and key citizens of the city of Lakeland - have not, until now, treated with human dignity and respect.
I understand that the 1,342nd wealthiest member of the human race lives in Lakeland, but these guests are from the opposite end of the socio-economic spectrum, the bottom of the pyramid instead of the top...
... The Bible is full of stories of people not appreciating or properly welcoming visitors. In their welcome of visitors, the New Testament says, people have sometimes “entertained angels unawares.” Let’s hope that Publix, and all of Lakeland, will give these guests - who will arrive this weekend on sore feet and weary legs, but with full hearts and open hands - the warm and respectful welcome they deserve." read more
But that's not it! This amazing eve-of-the-final-day wrap-up wouldn't be complete without one more video to give you a window into all the action, emotion, and fun of the day, and so here it is, your Day Fourteen video: