For press inquiries, contact:
Lucas Benitez, Coalition of Immokalee Workers
tel. 239-657-8311 (office)
tel. 239-821-5481 (cell)
In Southern California:
Julia Perkins, Student/Farmworker Alliance
tel. 239-986-9101 (cell)
tel. 714-953-9305 (local)
For the 2004 Taco Bell Truth Tour Press Release:
"FLORIDA FARMWORKERS CROSS COUNTRY TO TAKE FIGHT FOR RIGHTS
TO FAST-FOOD GIANT TACO BELL...." Click here for complete Press Release
TRUTH TOUR RALLY SHAPING UP TO BE A REAL MUSICAL HAPPENING!... As workers in Immokalee pack their bags and prepare to hit the road, artists are getting into gear as well for what is sure to be an unforgettable rally outside Taco Bell headquarters on March 5th.
We just got confirmation that Tom Morello and Boots Riley will not only perform on the 5th, but will take the stage together for a powerful show of music and politics!
At the same time, Over the Counter Intelligence out of Ft. Lauderdale, shown here on the right at their performance following the Root Cause March at the FTAA meetings in November, have been hard at work and have put together a remix of last year's hunger strike anthem, Hunger Days, called "Endless Pangs". To check out the new cut, brought to you by JG and Havikenhayes and recorded by their new LA-based co-conspirator, Vibe One, click on the 20-sec. mp3 excerpt below - enjoy!:
Endless Pangs - The Hunger Days Remix
CIW MEMBERS GETTING READY FOR 2004 TRUTH TOUR... CIW members met this past weekend to start making their final preparations for the tour, set to hit the road in less than two weeks. From rules for the road to protest art, CIW members began the detailed work of organizing the cross-country trip involving over 100 workers from Immokalee, tens of thousands of allies across the country, two major marches and rallies, and tons of equipment, food, banners, signs, and tech supplies.
Here, on the left, CIW members work on a unique piece of protest art that Taco Bell executives are sure to remember for some time to come. Click here to learn just what it is the workers have in store for March 5th in Irvine.
For background on the 2004 Truth Tour, see below:
Background: The fruits and vegetables we eat are produced, almost without exception, in a world virtually unknown to US consumers. It is a world hidden from our view by the bright neon logos of the fast-food giants and the shining rows of neatly stacked produce lining the aisles of supermarkets from Miami to LA.
It is also a world of extreme exploitation and human rights violations. In September, 2003, the Miami Herald published the results of an extensive investigation of farm labor conditions in Florida's fields in a Special Report, entitled "Fields of Despair." In the editorial that accompanied the report, the Herald wrote, "Drinking a glass of orange juice or eating lunch at a fast-food restaurant doesn't automatically conjure up images of exploited farmworkers toiling in dusty fields like indentured servants. But a connection between the two is an unpleasant reality in Florida. The orange juice that accompanies your breakfast eggs and the tomatoes in that salad may well be the product of a process that begins with servitude -- some call it slavery -- that decent people abhor."
Organized farmworkers from Immokalee, Florida, the state's largest farmworker community, brought those conditions to the attention of Taco Bell, one of the largest buyers of Florida tomatoes, in early 2000. One year later, with no answer from the fast-food giant, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) called for a national boycott of Taco Bell, demanding that the multi-billion dollar corporation recognize its role in the exploitation of farmworkers who pick its produce and take steps to clean up human rights violations in its supply chain.
Since then, the Taco Bell Boycott has become one of the fastest growing movements for social justice in the country, and the Immokalee workers have received national recognition for their work drawing the links between corporate profits and farmworker poverty. In 2002, a caravan of workers crossed the country in the first-ever "Taco Bell Truth Tour," culminating in a massive march and rally at Taco Bell headquarters in Irvine, CA. Last year, 75 workers and allies held an unprecedented 10-day hunger strike outside Taco Bell's headquarters. This past November, three CIW members received the 2003 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award for their work fighting modern-day slavery and their leadership of the Taco Bell Boycott.
With public attention to the modern-day slavery and sweatshop conditions in Florida's fields at an all-time high, this year's action promises to be the most powerful yet in this growing, grassroots campaign. The highlight of the 2004 Tour will be a three-day march, from East LA to Irvine. From March 2-4, Immokalee workers will be joined by allies from across the country on the 40-mile march, taking the boycott to millions of consumers on Southern California streets. The march will culminate in a huge, day-long rally on March 5th -- a political, musical, cultural festival that will shake the foundations of a fast-food industry built on the exploitation of workers and consumers alike.
Join us in Louisville and LA and as we ring the Bell for justice in 2004! Again, for more details on how you can join Immokalee workers on the 2004 tour: email us at firstname.lastname@example.org