Dozens of tomato pickers and their supporters will -- starting tonight -- abstain from food until the solemn fast-breaking ceremony Saturday at Publix HQ in Lakeland.
For several years, Publix -- Florida's largest corporation, with $1.5 billion in profit last year -- has refused to even meet to discuss the possibility of implementing the groundbreaking Fair Food provisions in its tomato supply chain. Worse, their PR team has consistently deflected the campaign by purposely misleading the public; a fantastic Tampa Bay Times editorial today flatly debunks Publix's responses as "disingenuous." (Read it here.)
On the eve of the CIW's six-day fast, a deluge of inspirational words has been rolling in -- below is a small taste:
"Immokalee tomato pickers will, once again, teach Publix and actually all of us a vital lesson in courage, of how to transform inequality and upend injustice through the sacred power of non-violence." -- Emmy Award-winning actor Martin Sheen
"Publix claims, in its corporate mission statement, to be 'Involved as Responsible Citizens in our Communities.' Now it has an opportunity to give real meaning to those words--by helping to end the exploitation of farm workers whose backbreaking labor fills the shelves at Publix supermarkets with good food. It's a disgrace that a Florida company refuses to take responsibility for abuses occurring within miles of its stores." -- Best-selling author and producer Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation; Food, Inc.)
“What I don’t like is the arrogance of their [Publix's] leadership and their unwillingness to even sit down and talk with the CIW... Theirs is a morally indefensible position and they can’t look the workers in the eye." -- the Rev. Bernice Powell Jackson, President of the World Council of Churches from North America
"On March 10th, 1968, my father broke bread with Cesar Chavez in Delano, California, as he ended his historic non-violent protest for farm labor justice. And so it is my great honor to commemorate that day with farmworkers from Immokalee and allies from around the country as they break their own fast outside Publix headquarters, the site where we rededicate ourselves to bringing dignity to US agriculture and real, lasting respect for human rights to our food system." -- Kerry Kennedy, President of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights
Please make plans to join farm-justice advocates from across the state on Saturday at noon in Lakeland when the CIW breaks their fast -- details here!
Jordan, Brigitte & Elena
Interfaith Action of SW Florida
239 986 9101 -- www.InterfaithAct.org
People of faith partnering with farmworkers to cultivate justice in the fields
Bridget Mary's Reflection:
If you shop at Publix, visit store manager and speak up for justice for farm workers. It is time for Publix's leadership to do justice for farm workers. Sitting down and having a conversation with CIW is a first step! Join people of faith rising up for justice for farm workers. Jesus would!
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests