Ripped from the headlines!

Publix’s hometown paper catches up with United Methodist Women as they as they call on Carol Jenkins Barnett to support farmworkers’ human rights, study roots of modern-day slavery… 

Over 60 United Methodist Women from the Florida conference joined CIW members and allies in a prayer vigil at the Southgate Publix in Lakeland last Friday, and the joyous action caught the attention of Publix’s hometown paper, the Lakeland Ledger.

Here’s a first-hand report of the day’s events from Gustavo Lopez of Interfaith Action:

“The vigil began with beautiful singing and a lot of animo. In no time, some began waving their signs and asking when we would start marching, and the vigil gradually evolved into a mini-action. Spontaneously they began chanting “Faith, Hope and Action — We Will Make it Happen!” A reporter from the Lakeland Ledger stopped by to take some shots…

A delegation delivered a letter addressed to Publix board member Carol Jenkins Barnett on behalf of the United Methodist Women, which was signed by over 120 women.”

Earlier that day another photographer from the Ledger stopped by the United Methodist Women’s Mission U, which had invited the Modern-Day Slavery Museum to its annual conference. The museum was stationed for three days at Florida Southern College, where hundreds of Methodist women learned about the history of slavery in Florida, reflected on the forms it takes today, and were inspired to action:

In a particularly powerful moment, a group of women gathered in prayer outside the museum, remembering their own baptisms and reflecting on the rights of farmworkers:

But perhaps the greatest witness of the day was by the most senior member of the group — a 96 year old member of the United Methodist Women, who, as the song goes, got a pen and a paper and made up her own little sign, which read simply: “I love Publix. Publix please love farmworkers.”

The support for Fair Food among Florida’s United Methodist Women is growing daily, and is a particularly exciting manifestation of faith in action. Indeed, the new chant coined at the protest — “Faith, Hope and Action — We Will Make it Happen!” — says it all, and will undoubtedly become a familiar part of the sounds of the Fair Food movement in the months and years ahead.

We are also quite sure that, with this longtime partnership fueling the movement in Florida, we will make it happen!