2018 summer protest season kicks off with action of 70+ farmworkers, allies in Sarasota!

CIW’s Silvia Perez: “We have fought for decades to protect the dignity of the women and men who harvest our food — and we are winning, through the Fair Food Program. Wendy’s cannot erase the hard-earned progress we’ve made…”

Even as the tomato harvest ends in Immokalee and the academic semester draws to a close for student allies, the Fair Food Nation is anything but winding down.  Far from it:  farmworkers and allies have their eyes trained on victory in the Wendy’s Boycott, and have lined up a jam-packed schedule of big summer protests and national calls to action.  With pressure continuing to mount following the spring’s Freedom Fast and Time’s Up Wendy’s March, Wendy’s will be hard-pressed to ignore the Fair Food Nation’s clarion call for real, worker-driven social responsibility.

Indeed, allies around the country are marshaling their networks to pen hundreds of letters to Wendy’s headquarters while also mobilizing to show up in-person to the annual shareholder meeting in Dublin, OH on June 5.  If you’re ready to join in the actions planned for the shareholder meeting, make sure to check out our call to action

Today, we bring you a report from the very first hot and sunny summer protest of the season in Sarasota, Florida.  Last Sunday, dozens of farmworker men, women, and children hopped into vans to journey to the beautiful gulf coast community two short hours north of Immokalee that has, for many years, been a veritable Fair Food stronghold.

Signature flags and signs in tow, CIW members joined members of Sarasota Fair Food, who co-organized the protest with students from New College, at a highly-trafficked Wendy’s restaurant.  Students and youth, who hailed not only from New College but also Riverview High School and Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, showed up in force (in spite of the home stretch of finals and graduation!)…

Ximena Pedroza, Student/Farmworker Alliance Steering Committee member and Freedom Faster, leads chants in Sarasota

… And they were not alone!  The local faith community also joined the spirited picket, as “Tomato Rabbi” Michael Werbow of Temple Beth Sholom and his family raised their voices along with faith leaders and congregants from the Sarasota Quaker Meeting (whose stunning banner, below, cannot be missed!), the United Methodist Women of the South West District, and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota.

While clouds shielded protestors from the worst of the tropical sun, drivers and passers-by took flyers and honked in support, lifting the spirits of the protestors.  The protest ended on a high note, with a firm chorus of “We’ll be back!” sounding out the end of the lunchtime rush!  And indeed we will be back for a circuit of Florida protests in Tampa, Orlando, Miami, and Southwest Florida in the months of June through September.  Make sure to stay tuned for dates!

We’ll end with this clip from WWSB ABC 7 News, featuring strong student and farmworker testimonies for why Wendy’s should reverse course and, finally, join the Fair Food Program: