A generation with a fighting spirit is ready to build the future

Lupe Gonzalo with her nephew Jorge (middle) and son Leo (left) on International Women’s Day in 2016 during a Fair Food tour.

Once again, I have come today to tell you about the impact the Fair Food Program, and the whole movement that created it, is having in the world – but today, I come to you as a mother.

Many of our children have had to grow up watching their parents suffer the challenges of work in the fields, and endure together the economic battles of poverty.  But many of our young people have gotten involved in the fight for Fair Food since they were small. They have marched and they have handed flyers to consumers to explain their cause.  They have picketed and they have taken part in street theater performances to educate the world about their parents’ – and their own – plight.  They have fought alongside their fathers and mothers to bring human rights to the fields.

When you support Fair Food, you are not only standing with workers, but also giving energy and encouragement to our children. Click here to donate today.

These young people – whether from the Immokalee High School or the hundreds of universities and colleges in this country that have supported us – bring energy and renewed hope to our struggles.  We see today more than ever that it is young people who will continue on this path of justice, the young people who are more full of consciousness than ever, whether it is about human rights, equality, mutual respect, or protection of the planet. 

They are ready.  For whatever challenges life has in store for them, they are prepared to take them on, thanks to the Fair Food movement.

The Campaign has shown our families in Immokalee how to be united and live in solidarity. Together, we have learned to fight to uproot abuses from our work. For the first time, thanks to the Program, we can arrive at home and embrace our children without any anxiety about having to return to work the next day, worrying about the abuses we will face. After working hard and cooking a nice meal for the table, we can sit, eat, and laugh with our children, without being dragged down by the sexual harassment we experienced that day, or by the wages missing on our paycheck, or by the thousand and one humiliations we suffered at work. We do not have to cry in the dark, hiding from our children.

Today, thanks to the Program, because our human rights are protected at work, we can have more dignity and calm at home  – because fear no longer governs our lives.

Today, I have the true pleasure of sharing the page with some of those fighting young women and men of the Coalition, so they can share in their own words what this movement means to them.

A generation with a fighting spirit is destined to build the future.

With gratitude,

Leonel (right) and his cousin, Jorge (Immokalee, 2022)

When I was around ten, my mom took me on a trip to Boston. She wanted me to go so I could learn the struggles of farmworkers and what they have to put up with.  Reading through flyers and listening to speeches, I was shocked that most people have to live though these abuses. I realized, even then, that the Fair Food Program is important because it can improve the workplace environment for workers in the field, like my mom and dad. – Leonel

Esther (New York, 2019)

All the new experiences I gained from joining the CIW are immeasurable. Meeting new people, visiting different states, and protesting for farmworkers’ rights all in one has felt amazing. 

Since my mother joined the CIW team five years ago, we have been more and more involved with protests and campaigning. I’m extremely proud of my mother for the work she does and I know she is too, since she’s giving back to her community she’s been part of for 21 years. – Esther

Andrea (center, with maraca) (Palm Beach, 2022)

One of my most memorable experiences was marching in the streets of New York City in 2018 alongside my brother, chanting “Boycott Wendy’s,” getting increasingly louder as we were bouncing energy off each other. My mother had brought us along in hope of us having a learning experience, and it was so much more than that. Over the years, I’ve met wonderful folks, done campaigning, had all sorts of new experiences that you just don’t get elsewhere. 

You always hear, “Be the change you want to see,” but you so rarely ever get to see it being put out on a grander scale, yet here is the Fair Food Program doing just that, changing the working conditions of agriculture workers. Growing up and hearing about the fields, and how my parents were always so overworked, and seeing how those conditions have changed is truly astronomical. – Andrea

Jorge (left) (Gainesville 2019)

The Fair Food Program is a chance for the next generation of families working in the agricultural industry to live a better life and have better conditions than those who came before like our parents. We are proud knowing the process and changes our parents have made with the help of many wonderful people from across the nation. We are taking care of our community, because “el pueblo unido jamás será vencido” [The people united will never be divided]. – Jorge

BONUS: Select highlights of Immokalee youth in the fight for Fair Food