In Case You Missed It: Wendy’s Boycott goes global with epic May Day Virtual Concert for farmworker justice!

Phenomenal line-up of artists, activists and actors celebrate essential farmworkers in Immokalee and demand Wendy’s protect workers in its supply chain by joining the Fair Food Program! 

Amy Schumer: “We all know the best way to guarantee rights and dignity is by listening to the workers and centering their needs. That’s why the Fair Food Program is so important!” 

Last Saturday, the vast and vibrant network of allies in the movement for Fair Food came together to celebrate International Workers’ Day with an epic May Day Virtual Concert, packed with an extraordinary line-up of artists, activists and actors sharing their music and solidarity in honor of essential farmworkers in Immokalee. After an exhausting year of hardship and (necessary) distance, the stellar musical performances by Tom Morello, Olmeca, Mare Advertencia Lirika and Son Jaorcho collective Lxs Altepee — as well as a special appearance by none other than comedian and actor Amy Schumer — offered ánimo and hope to continue fighting for a safer world for all, together.  The evening was more than just a joyful celebration of international solidarity and farmworker justice, it felt like a long-overdue reunion of our big Fair Food family.  And, in true Fair Food fashion, the chorus of artists sent an unequivocal message to Wendy’s: Protect essential farmworkers, join the Fair Food Program! 

In case you missed the riveting concert last week, below are video snapshots of some of our favorite moments of the night (but you can also watch the full event here): 

The concert kicked off with a message and performance from fellow organizers across the Gulf from Veracruz, Mexico: Lxs Altepee.  The Son Jarocho collective connected their own struggle to the work happening in Immokalee, as they celebrated 10 years of protecting indigenous rights in South Veracruz through the Bety Cariño Human Rights Center.  In their own words: “We’re happy to be here not only supporting the boycott of Wendy’s and the Campaign for Fair Food, but also to share the work we do to protect our own communities here in Veracruz… because it’s we know it’s all of our responsibility to take care of those who put food on our table.”

Following Lxs Altepee’s moving performance, CIW’s Nely Rodriguez shared important updates about our ongoing battle against COVID in Immokalee, working in collaboration with Partners In Health and Healthcare Network of Southwest Florida to educate, test, and vaccinate the farmworker community as the harvesting season wraps up here and workers begin migrating north for the summer

Up next, we introduced a new addition to the Fair Food Nation!  Mare Advertencia Lirika is one of the first female Zapoteca rappers out of Oaxaca, Mexico. Reflecting on the need for global solidarity during moments of crises, Mare expressed: “We know that struggle in all communities is necessary where inequities have been exposed due to the pandemic, with many workers simultaneously confronting exploitative capitalism and this lethal virus.”  These interlocking themes are pulled together powerfully in her opener “Escribiendo La Historia” where she raps of the power of working people rising up, against all odds, to write their own story. 

Mid-way through the May Day Concert, we heard a special message of solidarity in the Wendy’s Boycott from comedian, actor and stalwart Fair Food ally Amy Schumer, who has stood alongside farmworker women for many years in the struggle to end sexual violence in the fields:

Continuing to hear from powerful women, the next performer to hit the virtual stage was Nancy Sanchez, an East LA-based, singer/songwriter originally from Teluca, Mexico.  She joined us for the second consecutive year, sharing her powerful voice and bilingual lyrics to amplify the CIW’s fight for dignity and respect in the fields: “Farmworkers are essential to all of us. They have put their lives at risk to put food on our tables. From the bottom of my heart, muchas gracias.” Check out her beautiful song “Hasta Que Todos Estemos a Salvo” dedicated to those who are struggling for justice across the world. 

We also got to hear an important update from the Student/Farmworker Alliance, as Steering Committee member Amber Pirson shared background on the evening’s Call to Action. For over two decades, students and young people have been a driving force of creativity and energy behind the CIW’s Campaign for Fair Food — and the Deliver with Dignity Campaign is the newest installment of that proud history. Launched last fall when reliance on food delivery services surged, the campaign demands that delivery companies Uber Eats, GrubHub, Postmates and DoorDash reject farmworker exploitation and cut ties with Wendy’s! 

Our final two guests of the evening are old friends to the Fair Food movement. Brilliant hip hop scholar and activist Olmeca, as always, rocked the house, and his sweet reunion with CIW leaders reminded us of the power of trust built through decades of shared struggle and community organizing, even over Zoom. His irresistible beats spurred an impromptu dance party at the CIW Community Center, as no one in the office could stay seated during his call: “ ¡A bailar, a bailar!” 

To close us out, we had the honor of hearing from longtime ally and activist Tom Morello, of Rage Against the Machine fame, who has been lending his voice to the Campaign for Fair Food for over 20 years, headlining the very first Concert for Fair Food in Irvine, CA, in the early days of the Taco Bell Boycott and performing with us ever since at actions from LA to Chicago to Florida.  “The world’s not going to change itself,” Tom reminded us. “On this MayDay, we salute those who have struggled for dignity and respect in the workplace.

We send our most heart-felt thank you to all the artists and speakers who made the 2021 May Day Virtual Concert a success, and to all the allies around the world who came together to celebrate the victories of the workers in Immokalee, and stand with us as we call on Wendy’s to do what is right and just and join the gold standard for social responsibility.

Stay tuned for more campaign updates as we get closer to the Wendy’s annual shareholder meeting and the chorus of investors and consumers calling on Wendy’s to join the Fair Food Program becomes louder and louder!