March 5, 2013

VIDEO: Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around! Marchers gear up for International Women's Day

The march, entering its fifth day, is starting to hit home with people both inside and outside the marchers, prompting some truly moving reflections, two of which we wanted to share with you today. Writing in the pages of, prominent Evangelical leader and writer Brian McLaren highlighted the march in a piece reflecting on the connection between farmworker poverty and Publix's purchasing policies:

"[Publix has] refused even to have a substantive face-to-face meeting to discuss the matter.
As a result, they are cooperating with an old and broken system that has exploited farmworkers for far too long. The workers are asking them to join a new system that will treat the farmworkers with dignity as human beings.

Republicans, Democrats, and Independents have been speaking a great deal lately about their concern about "generational theft" - the way that our current spending and debt policies are unsustainable and place burdens on the young for the benefit of the old. Sustainability - economic and ecological - is a valid concern that deserves real attention.

But almost nobody has been talking about "demographic theft" - the way our current economic policies are aiding and abetting in a huge transfer of wealth from the poor and middle class to the rich. (More on that here.)

Listen to the voices of some of our nation's hardest-working people - people to whom we are connected by what we eat, and you will hear a moral summons to all of us - to corporate executives at Publix, and to buyers like you and me. "We are poor," they say, "but we, too, are human beings."" read more

Also, straight from the heart of the march, between miles, meals, and stretching, Zach Blume with Nashville Fair Food and Dignidad Obrera somehow found the time to pen a powerful reflection on his experience:

"Why the struggle, why the strain?
Why make trouble? Why make scenes?
Why go against the grain?
Why swim upstream?
Nothing changes anyhow.
- "Nothing changes" by Anaïs Mitchell (listen)

I've been on the march for three days now with the Coalition of Immoaklee Workers (CIW). It is tiring in the Florida sun. Think of the last time you spent eight hours in the sun — now multiply that by 14 days, constantly walking the whole time. People are already getting blisters. There have been laughs among runners that it's much easier on our bodies to run a half marathon than to walk one everyday. The consistency wears on you. That's what we're up against...

... If Publix continues buying tomatoes without coming to the table with the farmworkers who pick them, there will continue to be growers who, for whatever reason, don't appreciate the Fair Food agreement and who nevertheless will still have the unscrupulous buyer of Publix to offload their unethical tomatoes onto. We're marching on Publix because it stands in the way of the march towards justice that is going on right now in the fields." read more

Make sure to check back tomorrow for more press and a photo report from Days Four and Five, including a CIW theatre piece and other highlights!