Midwest Tour takes aim at Wendy’s!

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mw11Massive protest descends on Minneapolis Wendy’s, as 150 students with Real Food Challenge and Minneapolis community members join CIW delegation for the centerpiece action of Midwest Tour’s first week!

Midwest Tour, with focus on education and movement building ahead of major new campus initiative in Wendy’s campaign, moves on to Ohio…

The Fair Food movement will not slow down. Last week, just as the  Publix Truth Tour crew was arriving home from its five-state expedition, the Wendy’s Midwest Tour team hit the road for its own two-week trek through the states of Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, and Ohio.  

The Midwest Tour was the brainchild of several Student/Farmworker  Alliance Steering Committee members from the cities of Chicago, Madison and Minneapolis.  The student organizers designed the tour with a strategic focus on schools with a Wendy’s restaurant on campus, inspired in no small part by the seminal Fair Food victory in the fast-food industry and its signature, student-led “Boot the Bell” campaign.

The Tour visited nearly a dozen schools in its first week alone, organizing well-attended workshops and lively actions at every stop along the way.  The focus was on building a strong base of aware, active students that will carry the fight to Wendy’s on their campuses in and around the company’s home state of Ohio.  From this broad foundation of student allies throughout the Midwest, campus branches of the Student/Farmworker Alliance will be able to take the action to their local restaurants as only students can (like the group pictured below on their way to visit a Wendy’s restaurant on the second floor of the student center on the University of Illinois at Chicago, where, in what is sure to be a preview of campus actions to come, the manager and workers were a good bit more open to the idea of fundamental human rights than their corporate counterparts):


But the student organizing is not solely campus-focused.  The student and community groups that are taking part in the Midwest Tour today will also be ready and able to mobilize for regional actions, including convergences on Wendy’s corporate headquarters in Dublin, OH, in the months ahead.  

Those actions, whether campus-based or regional, will be rooted, as always, in the CIW’s founding formula for social change:  Consciousness + Commitment = Change.  The workshops along the trajectory of the Midwest Tour today, like this one pictured below in Chicago, will lay the foundation for the actions of tomorrow, as the Wendy’s campaign ramps up for the long haul in the battle to bring the final fast-food holdout into the fold of the Fair Food Program.


 So, check out the pictures below for some of the faces and actions of the first week of the Wendy’s Midwest Tour, and check back again later this week for more as the Tour hits Wendy’s home state of Ohio!

 St. Louis, MO (including St. Louis University and Webster University):


The St. Louis crowd included the Rabbi Susan Talve (pictured above on the far left), CIW ally T’ruah’s 2013 Rabbinic Human Rights Hero. Rabbi Talve declared herself the “Tomato Rabbi” during the protest.

Chicago, IL (including University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Loyola, Northwestern, Columbia and University of Illinois at Chicago):




Madison, WI (including UW-Madison and Edgewood College):




Minneapolis, MN (including U of Minnesota and St. Catherine’s in St. Paul):




So, check back soon for more from the Midwest!  But before we leave, we want to share one more photo, this one of a more personal nature.  Brian Payne, who was once — many, many years ago — a student at the University of Florida and the founder of the Student/Farmworker Alliance, moved some time ago to Minneapolis and helped start not just another organization there (Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha), together with low wage workers in the Twin Cities area, but also helped start a family.  Brian joined the Midwest Tour team for the Minneapolis action, and brought along his son, Sebastian, for a ride in the sunlight of a fall afternoon (before it gets too cold to ever go outside again!).  Brian and Sebastian are pictured here below, with Gerardo Reyes of the CIW.  We miss you, Brian!