COVID-19 RESPONSE: Take action to protect farmworkers in Immokalee!

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YOU can help fund and expand the Fair Food Program’s unprecedented COVID-19 protections for the women and men putting food on America’s tables by donating on Giving Tuesday!  Click here to contribute.

By almost any measure, 2020 has been a year without equal in modern history.  The COVID-19 pandemic has taken nearly 1,400,000 souls across the globe, with still several more months of sickness and death to come before a vaccine can deliver us from this particular evil.  Here at home, our response to the pandemic has been muddied and overshadowed by unprecedented political instability and discord, rendering local, state, and federal government agencies impotent or unwilling to respond adequately to COVID-19.  At the same time, a national reckoning on the routine violence and injustice faced by Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities at the hands of police has swept the country in waves, bringing millions into the streets to demand long-overdue racial justice.

As this almost impossibly long and trying year comes to a close, it has never been more important for us to protect and support each other.

This Giving Tuesday, you can stand with farmworkers – essential workers laboring in the fields to put food on America’s tables – in their fight for safe working conditions.  Click here to make a donation.

Among those who have been hit the hardest by this year’s many crises are the country’s essential workers, from healthcare workers on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19 to farmworkers rising before dawn to harvest the season’s crops in towns like Immokalee.  In spite of the looming threat of the virus, farmworkers have worked tirelessly to keep the food system going – and to keep food on the table for their own families – since the start of the pandemic last March.

“We have to keep working, even though we’re afraid something is going to happen. We surrender ourselves to God and hope.” – Maria (CNN, April 2020)

But while the vast majority of farmworkers in Florida and across the country face the pandemic with few protections and no power to demand a safe workplace, we know it does not have to be that way:  On farms across seven states and multiple industries, farmworkers under the Fair Food Program can count on unmatched protections against COVID-19 at work.

Now in its tenth year, the Fair Food Program has been able to virtually eliminate a wide range of longstanding human rights abuses in the agricultural industry.  And this season, the Program has risen to the unique challenge of 2020, forging ahead with socially-distanced worker-to-worker education in the fields, developing innovative new auditing protocols, and launching the COVID-19 Illness Prevention, Assessment and Response Plan, the country’s first (and thus far, only) mandatory and privately-enforced health and safety protocols in response to the pandemic. Since its launch in 2011, the FFP has harnessed the power of the market – won through hard-fought, creative, and ongoing public campaigns – to build an enduring structure of accountability, transparency, and human rights enforcement.  This year, that same groundbreaking program has proven its power not only to protect workers’ human rights in normal times, but to protect their very lives in times of extraordinary crisis.

Between now and the end of 2020, we are aiming to raise at least $30,000 to support the Fair Food Program’s efforts to combat COVID-19 in the fields and to expand the Program to new states and industries in the year ahead.  Our end-of-year campaign begins on Giving Tuesday. 

Keeping each other safe and well in times of crisis cannot be done alone, but only through collective action.  For Giving Tuesday, will you be a part of expanding the urgently-needed protections of the Fair Food Program to more essential workers across the country?

The Fair Food Program – and the unparalleled impact it has had on the lives of tens of thousands of farmworkers – would never have come to be without the support of people like you.  Likewise, we cannot expand this pioneering program without your help.  Please share this call for support on Giving Tuesday with your friends, your networks, and your family!

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