2006 SFA encuentro
¡Ya cayó! ¡Ya cayó! ¡Ronaldo ya cayó!
From Sept. 21-24, over sixty young organizers from across the country gathered in Immokalee, Florida for our 2nd annual Encuentro: three days of reflection, discussion, and strategizing about the struggle for fair food and building a more just world. Youth and student leaders from more than 15 states and representing more than 30 organizations and campuses – a sample of the breadth of support that the CIW can count on in the months and years ahead – participated in the Encuentro. Old and new allies from Southern Illinois to Miami, from UC Santa Cruz to Notre Dame, from the Bronx to Southern Mississippi, came together for this important weekend in the birthplace of the CIW.
This year's Encuentro took place against the backdrop of an escalating campaign against the multi-billion dollar McDonald's Corporation – the largest fast-food chain on the planet and an enormous buyer of Florida tomatoes. As in the four-year Taco Bell Boycott, student and youth organizing will play a critical role in the campaign's overall success.
After all, McDonald's newly revamped marketing strategy names 18-24-year-olds as the company's so-called "sweet spot." While the Golden Arches continues its efforts to undermine the CIW and roll back the historic yet fragile gains of the Taco Bell Boycott, our weekend together in Immokalee inspired and re-energized the SFA network, serving as an important springboard for the work ahead as we turn McDonald's marketing "sweet spot" (18- to 24-year-olds) into a well-organized sore spot.
During the Encuentro, we planned strategy and sharpened our organizing skills; engaged in discussion and reflection about our shared work in an era of corporate globalization and war; forged lasting personal relationships; and generally had a great time. We gathered lessons from past victories with an eye towards the future. We brainstormed ideas for brand-busting McDonald's. We broke up into small groups so people working locally on specific aspects of the Campaign for Fair Food – from campuses with McDonald's contracts to Chipotle in Denver to Burger King in Miami – had an opportunity to meet together and share ideas and resources. And we hatched plans for two nationwide days of action against McDonald's on Oct. 27-28.
Overall, the SFA network emerges from the Encuentro more prepared and confident to take on McDonald's and the corporate giants that follow. At least this much is clear: the CIW does not stand alone in this fight.
PO Box 603, Immokalee, FL 34143 :: (239) 657-8311 :: organize (at) sfalliance.org