CIW’s Lupe Gonzalo: Taking action with consumer allies “made me feel powerful… – and inspired me to keep fighting for human rights.”

Lupe Gonzalo speaks at a Campaign for Fair Food rally in 2018.

The first time I left the town of Immokalee – and it wasn’t to look for work in agricultural fields up north – was for a Campaign for Fair Food action with the CIW in 2011.  From the very first day I took my seat on the bus to head north, I felt full of energy.  When we woke up in Boston, I remember snow was falling – so much snow! – it was my first time seeing it in person.

Do The Right Thing Tour in 2011 taking to the snowy streets of Boston.

But that wasn’t the most amazing thing I saw that day.  What truly impressed me was seeing nearly a thousand students arriving to support us as farmworkers.  I never imagined that all of those young people, those leaders of faith, those conscious and committed consumers, would be so interested in fighting by our side to demand that we had human rights at work.  My hands and feet were frozen, but my heart was full of warmth and energy to keep marching.  I remember when we finished, and I had a cup of steaming hot coffee, and hugged my son close, telling him how glad I was that we had gone on the tour.  That action was a milestone in my life.  It made me feel powerful, loved, and protected – and inspired me to keep fighting for human rights, and especially for the dignity of fellow farmworker women in the fields.

Today, you can stand alongside farmworker women.  Donate here!

In the years that followed, I have had the opportunity to meet so many new allies, people who have walked by my side in our fight for justice with the CIW.  Together, we have danced, we have chanted, we have laughed, and even cried together – allies who are not just allies, but family, who understand our reality and fight with us for human rights.

Farmworker families marching during the Do The Right Thing Tour in Boston (2011).

They make me feel like we can build the future together, and a better world is possible.  We have already proved that it is, in fact, possible:  We have brought 14 of the world’s largest companies to the table, we have built and implemented the Fair Food Program with the power we won together with consumers, and changed the lives of tens of thousands of farmworkers.  Now, we have a voice in the fields – and that is only possible thanks to the solidarity of consumers and the struggle of countless workers.

But although we have won important victories and progress, there is so much more to be done.  Now is not the time to stop, it is the moment to come together stronger than ever – because there are still many other corporations who need to sign Fair Food Agreements that will help us expand to more farms, to more products, to more workers.

The leaders of powerful and massive corporations like Wendy’s, Publix, and Kroger need to be responsible in their decisions, decisions that affect the lives of countless people – especially in a year with a surge of forced labor cases coming to light.

Every year, the CIW has a major action in the spring.  This coming year, our action will not only keep up the pressure on Wendy’s, but also on Publix and Kroger, too (more on this to come – get your calendars ready).  Once again we will be taking our voices to the streets.

Add your voice to the call for justice from Wendy’s, Publix, and Kroger by donating towards the Spring Action today!

To put on a major action is no simple task:  We need buses.  We need food for workers and their families.  We need art to carry our message far and wide.  We need t-shirts and hats.  Your donation opens the door of opportunity to take action for us as workers.  Your support can help us mobilize powerful actions in the streets, with our voices raised and heads held high, to demand justice.

These agreements with major buyers at the top of the supply chain are what gives power to our vision as workers.  We have been building the Fair Food Program for 10 years now – and we know what we can win, with that market power in hand.  As more companies sign on, it not only reinforces the Fair Food Program of today, but supports its expansion to new farms and products.

This year, I invite you stand alongside farmworkers, as so many of you have done for so many years.  Donate what you can at the link below, and help us build a strong campaign for the future!

Click here to donate.