CIW’s Harvest Without Violence Mobile Exhibit travels to Haverford College for a Fair Food-filled week!

 Some of the students and staff getting ready to head over to the protest in front of Wendy’s

Some of the students and staff getting ready to head over to the protest in front of Wendy’s

Last week, the CIW’s eye-opening Harvest Without Violence Mobile Exhibit traveled from Immokalee, FL to the Keystone State for a week-long visit at Haverford College to educate students and community members about the Fair Food Program’s unique success in ending sexual violence and other human rights abuses in the fields.

In between studying for midterms and getting out the vote last week, students at Haverford College in Pennsylvania took a pause to act in solidarity with the women and men who harvest the food we eat. The John B. Hurford ‘60 Center for the Arts and Humanities, Philadelphia Arts Creative Collective (PACC) Program, Distinguished Visitors Program and Haverford Microfinance and Impact Investing Initiative (MI3) at Haverford College invited CIW’s co-founder Lucas Benitez and Ximena Pedroza of the Student/Farmworker Alliance to debut the Harvest Without Violence Mobile Exhibit at their dining center, educating over 300 students about the alarming rate of sexual harassment and assault confronted by farmworker women in the fields and about the only proven solution in agriculture to end and prevent such abuses: the award-winning Fair Food Program. While touring the exhibit’s legal documents, farmworker testimonies and extensive research, scores of students learned about the Campaign for Fair Food and pledged to boycott Wendy’s until the fast-food chain joins the rest of the industry in protecting farmworkers’ rights.

In addition to the guided tours, the Immokalee team led a series of classroom workshops on the Fair Food Nation’s impressive organizing track record on Thursday, November 8, as well as a keynote speech titled “Holding Goliath Accountable”. Lucas drew from the biblical story of David and Goliath, painting a picture of how farmworkers – as determined and steadfast as David himself – have managed to hold Goliath accountable.

The following day was jam-packed with events, including a panel on the rising Worker-driven Social Responsibility model titled “21st Century Social Responsibility.”  The panel was moderated by Noelle Damico, Senior Fellow at NESRI and included Penelope Kyritsis from the Worker Rights Consortium, and Christina Forwood, Director of the Standards Review team at B Lab which certifies B Corporations.

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Harnessing the energy of the newly-educated community members at Haverford, the CIW also hosted a workshop on organizing and the importance of symbolism to galvanize the latest generation of young movement leaders in the Student/Farmworker Alliance. During the workshop, students and faculty created hand-crafted signs for the impending Wendy’s protest.

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Naturally, just before the protest, it began to pour cats and dogs in Haverford.  But, of course, this did nothing to stop the determined students from Haverford College, Bryn Mawr College, Swarthmore College, and even Temple University (notably the local Boot the Braids school in Philadelphia). In spite of the weather, over 40 students, faculty, and community members came out from the area to protest Wendy’s, with one clear message: “¡Ni lluvia, ni viento, detendrá el movimiento!  Neither rain nor snow will stop this movement!”

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After the action – with everyone soaking wet, but filled with the jubilant energy that accompanies the Fair Food movement, where ever it goes – CIW concluded the week with a beautiful concert by &More, an incredible local jazz band from the City of Brotherly Love.

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And, most importantly, it was clear that this packed week in Philadelphia was only the beginning: Students have already begun strategizing on how all four universities – Haverford, Bryn Mawr, Swarthmore, and Temple – can work together to ensure that Temple University leaders stand on the right side of history and boot Wendy’s off campus until the fast food giant comes to the table with the CIW!

Part Two: “Boot the Braids” campaign ramps up pressure against university leaders’ dishonorable stance on Wendy’s human rights record!

  Over 60 UNC-Chapel Hill students, professors and Triangle-area community leaders hold a protest in support of the “Boot the Braids” campaign to remove Wendy’s from campus until the company joins the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ award-winning Fair Food Program. Oct. 25, 2018.

Over 60 UNC-Chapel Hill students, professors and Triangle-area community leaders hold a protest in support of the “Boot the Braids” campaign to remove Wendy’s from campus until the company joins the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ award-winning Fair Food Program. Oct. 25, 2018.

Ohio State, UNC - Chapel Hill, University of Michigan, University of Florida students fight to remove Wendy’s from their campuses until the company respects farmworkers’ rights;

Students to UNC Chancellor Carol Folt: "The bottom line is that doing business with Wendy’s — and promoting its brand on campus — associates UNC with a company that has chosen to turn its back on the world’s leading program to end human rights abuses in agriculture."

Last week, we shared the first roundup of creative actions that took place in over a dozen cities as part of the “Pulling Back the Curtain on Wendy’s” National Week of Action – including at Boot the Braids campus, University of Florida – capturing the SFA network’s thunderous call for transparency and verifiable protections for farmworkers in the company’s supply chain. In this second installment, we’re highlighting the creative and tireless efforts of SFA leaders at The Ohio State University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Michigan organizing to break their school’s resistance to cut ties with Wendy’s.

At each campus, the students’ rallying cry rang loud and clear: We’re fed up with university leaders sidestepping our concerns over Wendy’s egregious human rights record while cozying up with the fast-food chain behind closed doors!

Here are the first-hand reports from the front lines of the swiftly growing national “Boot the Braids” campaign:

Lights, camera, Boycott Wendy’s! Support grows at UNC to remove Wendy’s from campus…

After an energizing weekend at the SFA Encuentro in Immokalee this past September, we’ve been going hard at UNC-Chapel Hill to build our chapter of the Student/Farmworker Alliance and rally support to remove Wendy’s from campus until it commits to the Fair Food Program. After weeks of planning, we had the honor of welcoming Lupe Gonzalo of the CIW to campus on Oct. 15 for a two-week speaking tour in over a dozen classrooms, culminating with a march to Wendy’s.

After a jam-packed week of meetings and presentations to educate the Tar Heel community on the movement for Fair Food – including gathering over 500 petition signatures to kick Wendy’s off campus and handing out over 1,000 flyers for our Oct. 25 protest –  it was time to take action!

Inspired by the National Week of Action’s theme, we decided to “pull back the curtain” on UNC Chancellor Carol Folt’s own complicity in farmworker exploitation — quite literally — by staging a surprise theater performance. The skit, which generated many boos and laughs throughout, exposed UNC’s chummy relationship with Wendy’s and the corporation’s desperate attempts to hide from its responsibility to protect farmworkers’ human rights.

And with spirits running high, the crowd of students, faculty and allies from the Triangle Area — including members of Student Action with Farmworkers, Durham Fight for $15, the Poor People’s Campaign and Mi Gente at Duke University — took off!

Over 60 people marched and chanted through the heart of campus with colorful signs and banners, weaving through the swarm of students changing classes and enjoying an outdoor lunch given the perfect fall weather. The action took a pause in front of the Carolina Dining Services offices at The Pit, a popular gathering place for students, as UNC Campus Y Co-president Alli Whitenack issued a statement in solidarity with the Boot the Braids campaign, backed by leaders of over 30 student organizations:

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“As consumers and shareholders of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, we demand that the contract with Wendy’s be ended immediately and Wendy’s brand be prohibited from existing on our campus. We have learned in movements and moments throughout history that to ignore the maltreatment and abuse of other human beings is to be complicit in that violence. Wendy’s has clearly demonstrated its complicity in the sexual harassment, child labor and modern slavery of farmworkers across the country and outside of the U.S…. it cannot be denied that UNC profits from a corporation that is comfortable with the exploitation of other human beings. Unethical corporations such as Wendy’s have no place on a university campus that claims to be ‘For All.’”

Riled up and ready to make our voices heard, we made our way to the Wendy’s at the Graham Student Union for a lunchtime picket!

News of the Wendy’s Boycott protest quickly circulated the campus and was even picked up by the independent student newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel:

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10/25/2018
By Cole Villena

Students, community members and farmworkers marched from the South Building to the Wendy’s in the Frank Porter Graham Student Union Thursday, demanding that campus officials cut ties with the restaurant due to its refusal to adopt the pro-workers’ rights Fair Food Program.

The afternoon's event began around noon with a brief theatrical performance and ended 45 minutes later with chanting, marching and picketing just outside of Wendy’s.

The demonstration was organized by the UNC Student/Farmworker Alliance, which has called for the chain to sign onto the Fair Food Program since March of last year. Chapter leader Marco Chumbimuni performed in the initial skit. On the steps of South Building, the location of Chancellor Carol Folt’s office, he criticized another actor portraying the chancellor for allowing the chain to maintain its presence on campus. […]

[…] In a statement to The Daily Tar Heel, UNC Director of Auxiliary Services Scott Myers cited specific protections for tomato growers, which have been a central focus of the Fair Food Program’s efforts.

“In 2017, following student concerns, the University worked with Wendy’s to ensure all of their tomatoes for UNC-Chapel Hill would be purchased through the Aramark supply chain, thereby ensuring that the tomatoes used at the Wendy’s on campus will be subject to the provisions of Aramark’s agreement with the CIW,” Myers said in the statement. “UNC-Chapel Hill will continue to both listen to student concerns when it comes to dining options, as well as work closely with Aramark to ensure sustainably sourced products are available for students.”

In an email, [UNC SFA leader Mia] Shang called the University's response "half-hearted."

"Even if we were able to verify that the tomatoes on campus are sourced through the FFP, Wendy’s as a corporation remains stubbornly opposed to protecting the rights of farmworkers in its supply chain and continues to profit from the business of our students," she said. "The bottom line is that doing business with Wendy’s — and promoting its brand on campus — associates UNC with a company that has chosen to turn its back on the world’s leading program to end human rights abuses in agriculture."

Chumbimuni agreed, saying students would accept "nothing less than the Fair Food Program."

"There is no halfway when it comes to doing the right thing," Chumbimuni said.

No one covers for Wendy’s like Ohio State…   

Meanwhile, up in the Buckeye State, OSU Student/Farmworker Alliance built upon their long-standing Boot the Braids campaign with Wendy’s (which has been going since before the launch of the national boycott!), hitting the ground running for the fall semester!  

We had a busy week, building coalitions with other groups to host our first-ever DISorientation – a teach-in meant to shed light on the many troubling realities underlying OSU as an institution, from using prison labor, to million dollar fossil fuel investments and shutting down its only resources to survivors of sexual violence on campus – and, of course, maintaining its contract with Wendy’s.

  Student leaders at Ohio State University host a teach-in, titled “(Dis)orientation” at Lazenby Hall on Oct. 24, 2018. Photo credit: Courtesy of Elizabeth Andromeda

Student leaders at Ohio State University host a teach-in, titled “(Dis)orientation” at Lazenby Hall on Oct. 24, 2018. Photo credit: Courtesy of Elizabeth Andromeda

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Building on the week’s early educational events, we held a lively rally outside of President Drake’s office, followed by delivering a letter signed by many student organizations on campus. This letter, written personally by OSU students for President Michael V. Drake, demanded a real commitment to institutional ethical practices – and top of the list was for the university to cut its contract with Wendy’s:

“OSU, much like its corporate partners, actively silences students and workers that call out injustice. OSU is silencing us much like Wendy’s silences farmworkers. However, just like the farmworkers, we have the power and strength to come together, organize as a community, and demand that you, President Drake, do what’s right.”

In a desperate move, OSU administrators released a statement to the school newspaper, defending their decision to continue doing business with the only fast food company that still refuses to support farmworkers’ human rights:

“Ohio State engaged with Wendy’s actively for two years and, in early 2017, Wendy’s began implementing an improved supplier Code of Conduct,” Johnson said. “Ohio State has evaluated Wendy’s code and its audit methodologies for ensuring ongoing compliance by its suppliers. We are satisfied that Wendy’s code and its auditing practices meet or exceed industry standards and are consistent with university values and expectations.”

But we are not having it. Young people on OSU’s campus unequivocally rejected OSU’s blind acceptance of Wendy’s paper-thin code of conduct (which farmworkers and experts alike, including one of OSU’s own former law professors, have long since exposed as misleading and ineffective).

Students to U of Michigan President Schlissel: Do not welcome Wendy’s back to campus…

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Following our animated protest during the final home football game at the University of Michigan, the UMich community used that momentum to organize a teach-in, and a letter delegation to President Mark Schlissel.

As the campaign stands, the University of Michigan has a unique opportunity in its Boot the Braids trajectory: The Student Union, where Wendy’s used to be located, is currently under construction. Building on the clear recommendations of the University’s own commissioned study on ethical procurement practices, and years of tireless student organizing on campus,  we, students and members of Washtenaw Solidarity with Farmworkers, are calling for a commitment from President Schlissel to ensure that he will not allow Wendy’s back on campus until the fast food giant joins the Fair Food Program.

PHOTO REPORT: Hundreds of students across U.S. demand that Wendy’s leaders adopt the unparalleled human rights protections of the Fair Food Program!

 Students at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill stage a theater skit on the steps of UNC Chancellor Folt’s office to highlight the University’s complicity in human rights abuses.

Students at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill stage a theater skit on the steps of UNC Chancellor Folt’s office to highlight the University’s complicity in human rights abuses.

Part One: Young people and community leaders from coast to coast take to the streets as part of SFA’s “Pulling Back the Curtain on Wendy’s” National Week of Action!

With midterm season wrapping up, the young leaders of the Fair Food Nation have been hard at work inside the classroom – and in the streets! While SFAers in over a dozen cities prepared direct actions to unveil Wendy’s disdain for farmworkers’ human rights, the fast-food chain coincidentally launched a $1 French fry deal, targeted at college students and young people. Nervous much, Wendy’s?

But Wendy’s desperate PR distractions are not fooling anyone! Last week, as part of SFA’s “Pulling Back the Curtain on Wendy’s” National Week of Action, hundreds of students and community allies — from California to New York — organized creative actions, teach-ins, and delegations, turning a spotlight on what Wendy’s is spending millions of dollars to hide from consumers: the company’s utter  failure to protect farmworkers in its supply chain from sexual assault and forced labor.

Today, we’re bringing you Part One of photos and reports gathered from SFA organizers across the country. Let’s jump right in!

Gainesville, FL

Members of CHISPAS at the University of Florida kicked off their “Boot the Braids” Week of Action with an attention-grabbing tomato bucket display at the Plaza of the Americas, one of the university’s central gathering locations. The CIW’s classic pyramid display, which has graced countless university campuses since the days of the Taco Bell Boycott, is a powerful organizing tool for drawing attention to the grueling labor and poverty behind the food we eat.

After learning about the Fair Food movement to bring dignity to the fields, it didn’t take long for students to get riled up about UF’s refusal to cut Wendy’s from its list of dining options on campus! After a week of showcasing the display on campus courtyards and back-to-back presentations by CIW’s own Leonel Perez in more than 20 classrooms, over 400 Gators learned of the “Boot the Braids” campaign and how they could play a role in bringing Wendy’s into the Fair Food Program once and for all!

New York, NY

On Saturday, NYU Food and Racial Equity (FARE) Collective teamed up with NYC Industrial Workers of the World for a nighttime march for farmworker justice in the Big Apple. Presente among the crowd was CIW’s own Gerardo Reyes Chavez, who had been lecturing in the halls of NYU up until moments before the march took off. Despite the rain and cold, the joyful crew turned up  the heat on Wendy’s in New York City to send the message that consumers will continue boycotting Wendy’s until the company does right by farmworkers and joins the Fair Food Program.

Houston, TX

In Texas, University of Houston students and the Houston Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) Eco-Socialist Working Group led a picket in solidarity with the CIW on Saturday, calling out Wendy’s refusal to end generational poverty, abuse and sexual violence in the fields!

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Miami, FL

Members of the CIW, students from Florida International University, and Miami-area allies packed the week with nonstop actions and events! On Monday, Students Working for Equal Rights (SWER) hosted a teach-in at FIU, educating the campus community on the award-winning Fair Food Program. In their discussion, titled "Is Your Food Fair?", students heard from Lucas Benitez, CIW co-founder, about the incredible history of the movement for farmworker justice in Immokalee and how the Fair Food Program has immeasurably changed the lives of tens of thousands of farmworkers.

On Saturday, students organized a lively protest outside of the Wendy’s on the busy 107th Avenue. CIW’s Oscar Otzoy, Dream Defenders, Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) - South Dade, People Acting for Community Together (PACT), Black Lives Matter Alliance - Broward, and American Postal Workers Union added their voices to the mix! A Fair Food delegation successfully delivered a letter to the manager who agreed to pass on the letter to higher-ups.

As the delegation gave a report to the crowd outside, Oscar shared, “I believe there is no better program for Wendy’s to join than the Fair Food Program, which has returned to workers’ their voices, which all workers need in their industry… We know that one day, change will happen, because a corporation’s resistance cannot last a century.”

Providence, RI

Brown University Student/Farmworker Alliance and Providence community members also rallied in the pouring rain outside of a local Wendy’s on Charles St on Saturday afternoon. The high-energy picket was bright and loud despite the heavy rain, drawing out supportive honks during the power hour. At the action, SFA leader and Brown student Alexis Roman, shared a few words of motivation in support of farmworkers’ voices in the Fair Food movement: “These are the women that bring us our food, these are the people that we get our energy from. Anything that we eat, that we digest is from their hands, so it’s just giving back that love that they give to us.”

Washington, D.C.

On Tuesday, the CIW’s traveling Harvest without Violence Exhibit arrived at Georgetown University, co-hosted by the Kalmanovitz Initiative for the Working Poor and DC Fair Food. CIW's Silvia Perez and Silvia Sabanilla gave back-to-back tours throughout the windy fall day in Georgetown's Red Square at the heart of the campus, reaching over 200+ students! The next day, students at George Washington University with Green GW and the GrOW Community Garden screened the James Beard Award-winning documentary “Food Chains,” — and signed up dozens of students to join the national Wendy’s Boycott.

DC Fair Food wrapped up the week of action with a vibrant march to the Petworth Wendy’s. Like their friends in NYC and Providence, the crowd kept spirits high as ever as they marched through the pouring rain. ¡Ni lluvia, ni viento, detendrá este movimiento!

Fort Myers, FL

Down in Southwest Florida, the SFA chapter at Florida Gulf Coast University teamed up with members of the CIW for a spirited Boycott Wendy’s action in Estero on Saturday morning after a jam-packed week of nonstop tabling, flyering and presentations on FGCU’s campus. This short clip perfectly captures the fun energy of the sunny protest!

Los Angeles, CA

Rabbi Lev Meirowitz Nelson, a longtime ally and staff member of T’ruah, held two teach-ins at The Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies and Hebrew Union College in conjunction with the national Week of Action. Rabbinical students learned more about the CIW’s Campaign for Fair Food and the role they play in advancing human rights for farmworkers as consumers, scholars, and Jewish allies.

Tallahassee, FL

After hosting an art-making party to raise awareness about the Wendy’s Boycott, Florida State University and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University students crashed Wendy’s Tailgate Tour during the Clemson v. FSU game on Saturday! From the top level of the Wendy’s RV, students grabbed the crowd’s attention with “Boycott Wendy’s!” chants and colorful signs.

Stony Point, NY

Our dear friends of the vibrant Stony Point Center also joined in on the action with a colorful delegation and picket at the local Wendy’s in Rockland County!

Tampa, FL

A small but mighty group of allies with Tampa Bay IWW, Tampa Bay DSA, and the Tampa Religious Society of Friends, assembled outside of the Wendy's on Tampa’s Florida Ave for a Boycott Wendy’s action and successful delegation to the manager on Sunday! Tampa Bay Fair Food member Roger Butterfield shared: “Right now, the Fair Food Program has virtually eliminated sexual violence in the fields… There’s been only one case of physical contact with sexual harassment in the past six years, versus an 80% rate of harassment [on farms outside the Fair Food Program].”  

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Ithaca, NY

On Thursday, members of the Labor Religion Coalition of the Finger Lakes dropped off a manager letter as well as 320 petition signatures local community members who had recently joined the national Wendy’s Boycott!

That’s all for now! Stay tuned for Part Two of the action report coming soon…

BREAKING: Methodist Theological School in Ohio endorses the Wendy’s Boycott in unanimous vote!

The wonderful news from MTSO kicks off an exciting national week of action in the Wendy’s Boycott, with hundreds of students, people of faith, and consumers of conscience preparing to take the fight for farmworker justice to the doorstep of Wendy’s restaurants around the country. 

Fair Food Nation prepares to unveil the truth behind Wendy's square burgers in over a dozen cities next week...

 CIW allies in Houston lay out freshly-painted artwork in preparation for the 2018 “Pulling Back the Curtain on Wendy’s” National Week of Action.

CIW allies in Houston lay out freshly-painted artwork in preparation for the 2018 “Pulling Back the Curtain on Wendy’s” National Week of Action.

Teach-ins, theater pieces and protests confirmed in New York, Columbus, Ann Arbor, Ft. Myers, Chapel Hill, Houston, Providence, Washington, Miami… just to name a few! 

With the school year now in full swing — and in the wake of an incredible weekend of strategizing in Immokalee, FL, during the 2018 Encuentro — the Fair Food Nation is ready to kick off the semester with a bang! Next week, from Oct. 22-28, the SFA network will be staging teach-ins, theater skits and direct actions from California to New York as part of the "Pulling Back the Curtain on Wendy's" National Week of Action.

We're exposing the sexual violence and exploitation behind Wendy's square burgers and the dirty deals our universities strike up with corporations that put profits over human rights.

But guess what, Wendy's? Your act is up!

So far, over a dozen cities, from Orange, California to Gainesville, Florida, have answered the call — and counting:

Tallahassee, FL – Sunday, October 21
Contact: lk16b@my.fsu.edu

Tampa, FL - Tuesday, October 23
Contact: tbfairfood@gmail.com

Chapel Hill, NC Thursday, October 25
Contact: biancao@sfalliance.org

Columbus, OH Thursday, October 25
Contact: rachael@sfalliance.org, alexh@sfalliance.org

Gainesville, FL – Thursday, October 25
Contact: chispasuf@gmail.com

Ann Arbor, MI Friday, October 26
Contact: kim@sfalliance.org

Washington DC Saturday, October 27
Contact: beno@sfalliance.org

New York City Saturday, October 27
Contact: oceanjeremy@gmail.com

Fort Myers, FL Saturday, October 27
Contact: fgcusfa@gmail.com

Houston, TX Saturday, October 27
Contact: sandracisnerospeeters@gmail.com

Miami, FL Saturday, October 27
Contact: jasiell@swer.org

Orange, CA
Contact: viano101@mail.chapman.edu

Providence, RI
Contact: tali@sfalliance.org

Check out the National Week of Action's landing page for more details on how to plug in – and don't forget to peep our online action toolkit, which has helpful templates, workshop guides, sample flyers, and outreach tips. If you don't see your action listed or want to start planning for next week, hit us up at organize@sfalliance.org or call us at 239-692-1482.

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Meanwhile at the University of Michigan...

Students and community members crashed Wendy's college tailgating tour during the Michigan vs. Wisconsin match! The action was successful in educating hundreds of football fans about the gross human rights track record of the NCAA's latest fast-food sponsor — and even landing a Boycott Wendy's cameo on live TV during ESPN's Game Day coverage. SFAers were on a roll recruiting new members for the student-led effort to prevent Wendy's from returning to campus until it joins the Fair Food Program, including none other than UMich's very own Biff, the Wolverine!

Stay tuned for more developments on the boycott front as the preparations for the national Week of Action continue...

APPLICATION OPEN: Join the official body within SFA steering student/youth strategy in the Wendy's Boycott! 

Want to be a part of one of the most dynamic, creative student/worker solidarity movements in the country? Apply to join young people from across the country in assembling the 2019 Student/Farmworker Alliance Steering Committee!

The Steering Committee (SC) is the leadership body of SFA, working throughout the year to build up a vibrant, decentralized national network of allies to fuel the farmworker-led Campaign for Fair Food. Each SC member forms part of a unique support team of highly committed SFA members who work closely together to lift up the Fair Food Program's highly successful worker-led model for transformative change in low-wage corporate supply chains, while relentlessly organizing to bring Fair Food corporate holdouts to the negotiating table with the CIW. 

Before applying, please carefully review the roles and responsibilities that come along with being an SC member. Got questions? Hit up the SFA staff in Immokalee at organize@sfalliance.org

The work of bringing the world's third largest hamburger joint to sign an agreement with the CIW is no easy task. As a powerful team, we depend on the work that we all do to escalate pressure in the Wendy's Boycott -- and we're bringing the heat with this fall's escalation plans and upcoming "Pulling Back the Curtain on Wendy’s" National Week of Action from Oct. 22-28. To that end, we strive to build a community of support and accountability among the SC, while creating the food system we envision alongside farmworkers. 

The final application deadline is Friday, November 2. Given our commitment to developing a diverse leadership, we strongly encourage people of color, women, working-class, LGBTQIA, gender non-conforming, and differently-abled/disabled people to apply for the SC.

PLUS: Check out this sweet lil' video capturing the boisterous energy of the 2018 SFA Encuentro action in Estero, FL!

Over 80 students and young people gather in Immokalee for #2018Encuentro, launch plans for Wendy’s Boycott actions in over 30 cities nationwide!

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Students escalate campaigns to boot Wendy’s off college campuses from Michigan to Philadelphia; put finishing touches on upcoming “Pulling Back the Curtain on Wendy’s” National Week of Action, Oct. 22-28…

Over 150 farmworkers and allies flood sidewalk on U.S. 41 in Estero, FL, for dazzling Wendy’s Boycott protest…

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Last week, ushering in the beginning of the fall season, Immokalee hosted over 80 students and youth traveling from over 35 communities across the country, and even from as far as Mexico City, for this year’s SFA Encuentro, themed “Hasta la Raíz” (Down to the Root). Participants made their way to Immokalee, the birthplace of the CIW’s incredible battle against poverty wages and systemic violence in the fields for an extraordinary weekend of building strategy and community with farmworkers and with each other.

The Encuentro weekend brimmed with conversations rooted in compañerismo and commitment from beginning to end, paving the way  for SFAers to create long-term strategies for transformative change in our food system and lay down commitments for the upcoming “Pulling Back the Curtain on Wendy’s” National Week of Action from Oct. 22-28. While gathered in Immokalee, we reflected on the tremendous power and responsibility we as students and young consumers have in holding corporations and our institutions to account for shameful business practices.

And, we channeled our inspiration into action with a loud and energized protest outside of a local Wendy’s in Estero, FL!

Today, we bring you a day-by-day recap of the weekend, interwoven with beautiful photos from some of our favorite moments. Here’s what went down at the 2018 SFA Encuentro:

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Day One: Thursday, Sept. 20

The powerful women leaders of the CIW Women’s Group opened the weekend with a warm bienvenida to the Coalition’s colorful Community Center during the opening ceremony, which set a grounding tone for the rest of the long weekend. As dusk fell upon the dusty town of Immokalee, participants introduced themselves by sharing stories of courage, love and resistance, while assembling a community altar made up of items representing the people and movements that had ultimately helped to carry them to the Encuentro.

Day Two: Friday, Sept. 21

Participants rose bright and early for a day filled with clever and often hilarious popular theater skits by members of the CIW, presentations around the inner workings of the Fair Food Program and Worker-driven Social Responsibility Network, and skill-building workshops to prepare for another busy season in the national Wendy’s Boycott. The CIW’s newest teatro sheds light on the exploitation faced by farmworkers in greenhouse operations and Wendy’s shady auditing practices that fail to deliver real protections against abuses without enforcement and monitoring.  To cap off an exciting Day 2, we learned from SFA veterans about their organizing experiences and strategies deployed during earlier SFA campaigns, including Boot the Bell and Dine with Dignity, and prepared to use  their recipes to help craft the next steps in the Campaign.

Day Three: Saturday, Sept. 22

On Day 3, participants took a deep dive into campaign strategy sessions: crafting creative actions for “Pulling Back the Curtain on Wendy’s” National Week of Action, and planning to ramp up efforts to “Boot the Braids” this semester across eight campuses — Florida Atlantic University, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, University of Florida, Ohio State University, University of Michigan, and Temple University.

By midday on Saturday, Round Two of skill-building workshops set to help participants put into practice community organizing skills to bring Wendy’s into the Fair Food Program once and for all… and then, it was time for action!

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The crowd swelled to over 150 people as members of Call to Action Southwest Florida and Florida Gulf Coast University SFA joined Encuentro participants for a lively Wendy’s Boycott picket in Estero. Presente in the mix were over a dozen women leaders from countries around the world on an international delegation with Vital Voices Anti-trafficking Fellows. As the rousing protest grew in size and volume over the hour, a Fair Food delegation — made up of Luz Juan from San Francisco State University, Nova Friedman from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA, Maria Munguia Cortes from Wartburg College and CIW’s own Julia de la Cruz — attempted to deliver a letter to the local manager in hopes that word of the resonating calls for justice from the gathered students and young people would reach higher ups in the company.

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Minutes before closing out the rally, a light drizzle began to fall on the protesters gathered outside of Wendy’s. Despite the rain, spirits remained high as ever, and Maria closed it out with inspiring words affirming the SFA network’s commitment to boycott Wendy’s until a Fair Food Agreement is signed: “I was born in Mexico, raised in Immokalee and now I go to school in Iowa… we’re here and that’s what matters. And even though this fight continues every day we’re still showing up, we’re still standing...”

Once back in Immokalee members of the CIW, their families, and participants shared poetry and art, music and folkloric dance during the longstanding SFA tradition at the Encuentro, Café Cultura. Participants tailored their performances to fit this year’s “Hasta La Raíz” theme — and there was no better way to open the space than with Immokalee’s very own Pedrito Fernandez aka Raymond Tepochtli Mejía Perkins who, in full charro suit, made the crowd swoon with back-to-back romantic corridos!

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For the remainder of the night, colorful skirts, guitars and traditional marimba music from Guatemala grazed the stage of Cafe Cultura, bringing allies and farmworkers together for an unforgettable night!

Day Four: Sunday, Sept. 23

After three eventful days of strategizing and planning, SFAers made their commitments to the Fair Food movement by constructing a larger-than-life “tomato timevine.” We wrapped up the weekend with a powerful presentation by union organizers Verónica Laguna and Yamilex Rustrian from SEIU United Service Workers West who shared details about the incredible “Ya Basta!” campaign to end assault and rape on the night shift for janitorial workers. Nely Rodriguez from the CIW followed by speaking to the tireless organizing to eradicate and prevent sexual harassment in the fields for decades. In the era of #MeToo, we must uplift the voices of hardworking women on the frontlines of the national – and international – struggle against sexual violence in the workplace.

This year, SFAers will be bringing the fight — and all of their newly-gained skills — from the #2018Encuentro to their campuses and communities, ready to pull back the veil on Wendy’s and their theatrical schemes to manipulate consumers. This weekend served as a critical opportunity to strategize together, strengthen our bonds, and get energized for the year ahead. Wendy’s might be a multi-billion dollar corporation, but our movement is equipped with a powerful tool: commitment to expand human rights for farmworkers in its supply chain.

Stay tuned as we send out more resources and updates on the “Pulling Back the Curtain on Wendy’s” National Week of Action, and be sure to contact us at organize@sfalliance.org if you’d like to add your action to the mix.

We’re fired up! Are you?

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“A #MeToo-era marvel”: Slate Magazine features Fair Food Program in “What Hollywood Can Learn From Farmworkers”…

“A #MeToo-era marvel”: Slate Magazine features Fair Food Program in “What Hollywood Can Learn From Farmworkers”…

Journalist Bernice Yeung in Slate Magazine on the Fair Food Program: “…a #MeToo-era marvel that other industries are rapidly trying to adopt, a novel approach that not only creates real consequences for harassment but also prevents it from happening at all.”