CNN, CBS Evening News: Immokalee’s call for urgent farmworker protections receives national attention…

CNN Prime Time with Chris Cuomo: “If [farmworkers] get sick, and they can’t do their jobs, we’re going to see disruptions in the food chain. It shouldn’t be about avarice, it should be about humanity.”

CBS Sunday Evening News: “Work or stay safe: A daily dilemma for laborers like [farmworker Gloria Carrera] across the country…”

PLUS: Council of Florida Medical School Deans signs open letter to Gov. DeSantis calling for comprehensive testing, field hospital for Immokalee’s farmworkers!

The Immokalee community’s battle to secure comprehensive testing, isolation shelter, and alternative care sites for vulnerable farmworker communities in Florida hit national news this week, reaching nearly 10 million viewers through, first, an interview on CNN’s Prime Time with Chris Cuomo on Friday, and then a Sunday evening  spot on CBS News just 48 hours later. Cuomo’s hard-hitting late night coverage (embedded at the top of the post) focused on the precarious conditions most farmworkers endure – severely overcrowded housing and transportation, grinding poverty, and inadequate access to health care – and on the threat to national food security should an outbreak occur here as it has in multiple meatpacking communities around the country.  

Meanwhile, CBS Evening News took viewers into the community with the CIW’s Nely Rodriguez, posting educational flyers around Immokalee and answering listeners’ calls on the CIW’s Radio Conciencia.  The story also featured Gloria Carrera, a farmworker and mother of two in Immokalee who eloquently articulated the impossible choice facing countless farmworkers: Do I risk my health at work, or risk my ability to feed and house my kids by staying home?

Here is the CBS Evening News piece, in full:

And the national coverage of the situation in Immokalee doesn’t stop there.  Over the last week, the story was picked up everywhere from Telemundo to Mother Jones, underscoring the urgent need to protect the women and men who put food on our tables. Here is just a short selection of the coverage since our last update:

But the news media are not alone in turning up the heat for real, urgent action.

As of this morning, over 230 organizations from across the country have signed the open letter to the Governor.  We are especially proud to say this impressive array of organizations now includes the Council of Florid Medical School Deans, representing the state’s top medical minds from the University of Miami in the south all the way up to Florida State University in Tallahassee itself.  The Council voted unanimously to support the urgent call for greater protections for the Sunshine State’s farmworkers.

And last but far from least, you have made yourself heard, loud and clear, to Florida’s leadership: Hundreds upon hundreds of phones calls have flooded the Governor’s office in Tallahassee, and more than 35,000 people have signed onto the CIW’s online petition, calling for comprehensive testing, a field hospital, personal protective gear for farmworkers, and economic support for struggling families.

Every day that passes without comprehensive testing in Immokalee – and without proactive steps to shore up the town’s dismal healthcare resources well ahead of a massive outbreak – brings both farmworkers and the food system as a whole closer to a devastating crisis that will ripple out far beyond Southwest Florida. If you haven’t already, please add your name to the petition, and check out and share with your friends, families, and networks.