The incredible momentum building across the SFA network, sparked by last month's weeklong fast by 19 Ohio State University students and alumni to pressure the administration to boot Wendy's off campus, is swiftly growing by the day as more (and more!) students join the nationwide rolling fast.
We've got major developments from this week's campus fasts in Tampa Bay and Nashville stacked below, but first, here's an important call to action just released by OSU Student/Farmworker Alliance:
Stand in solidarity with students at OSU by sending a short, 30-second to one-minute video addressed to the OSU administration by Sunday, April 23rd. Students at OSU will be sharing these videos with Ohio State administrators to send the message that we will not stop taking action until they do the right thing by cutting its contract with Wendy’s.
Consider the following points that can be used as a guide to send your message to the OSU administration:
What’s the message?
+ In your video, directly address President Drake and the leadership of OSU
+ Include the message: “OSU, we’re watching you. Keep your word and cut the contract with Wendy’s.”
+ By maintaining this contract, OSU is complicit in the human rights abuses of farmworkers in Wendy’s supply chain.
+ The OSU administration has met with farmworkers, who have explained in their own words why Wendy’s Code of Conduct has no real mechanisms to ensure their rights, compared to the Fair Food Program, and yet OSU remains unconvinced.
+ Students are not satisfied with the actions of Wendy’s or the OSU administration. Their concerns will not be resolved until Wendy’s joins the Fair Food Program.
What kind of video? Remember: Short and direct videos that get the message across in a clear and powerful way are the most effective. We are asking for 30-second or minute-long videos. And feel free to get creative! Consider incorporating props, costumes, or theater in your video.
When you’ve finished recording, post your video to the OSU Student/Farmworker Alliance Facebook page.
Less than two weeks ago, students interrupted the OSU Board of Trustees meeting with a powerful action, demanding that the administration keep its promise and remove Wendy's from campus given students' indisputable dissatisfaction with the fast food company's farm labor practices. And next on the horizon is the “Keep Your Word” Rally on OSU’s campus next Tuesday, April 25 at 3 p.m.
Number of students fasting for farmworker justice on the rise from Tampa Bay to Nashville!
Back in Florida, the Tampa Bay student fast — a collaborative action among undergraduate and graduate students at the University of South Florida, the University of Tampa, and Eckerd College — hit the ground running after taking up the torch from students at New College of Sarasota and Valencia College. Having started the week with eight committed fasters, the three universities now count 16 students taking part in the rolling fast, and over 30 more students who took part in 24-hour solidarity fasts throughout the week!
On Wednesday evening, students from all three schools gathered at the very Wendy's to which, just a couple short weeks ago, nearly 300 marched during the grand finale of the CIW's Return to Human Rights Tour. In a spirited protest, students and supportive professors and community allies — and even, one of last week's student fasters Xavier, from Valencia College — made a colorful splash during rush hour in the streets of Tampa.
Here are some moving reflections from student fasters Katie Shrum and Zulema Ramos:
Zulema Ramos, University of Tampa: "....I am simply grateful to be alive to help a cause such as the Fair Food Program, and to have come into contact with so many compassionate and driven humans."
Katie, University of South Florida: "... I had never experienced protest with such rich colors, musical instruments and a general atmosphere of joy in civic engagement. I decided to get more involved, and quickly agreed to participate in the USF fasting action to Boot the Braids. This week has been challenging, and inspirational.... We all stand in solidarity with OSU, the CIW and all farmworkers to say — we will have no food, if we cannot have Fair Food.... we will not waver and we will not stop spreading this message."
Inspired by their peers at Ohio State, students at Vanderbilt University, joined by another student at Trevecca Nazarene, have now entered Day 4 of their own 7-day fast to demand that Vanderbilt cut ties with Wendy's, which is currently one of the restaurant options on their off-campus dining program.
Since setting up camp outside the Rand Dining Center last Tuesday, catching hundreds of students walking to class or making their way to lunch, the number of student fasters has more than doubled, as more and more students learned of the Wendy's Boycott — and of their university's own unsavory connection with Wendy's.
On Monday, quickly after students delivered a letter to Vanderbilt Chancellor Zeppos' office declaring their intention to fast for 7 days, the administration reached out to set up a meeting with students to discuss the action. On Tuesday, students sat down with the dining service administrators, who once again, were unmoved by the horrific abuses faced by workers in Wendy's supply chain. Students reaffirmed their own commitment not only to fasting for the remainder of the seven days, but to building the Boot the Braids Campaign on Vanderbilt's campus until the contract was cut.
Head over to the CIW website to catch the full reports and media coverage from the rolling fast in Tampa Bay and Nashville!
As the rolling fast continues onward, be sure to check back soon for even more news from the Wendy's Boycott frontlines, and don't forget to send in your video to OSU's President Drake before Sunday. “We're watching, OSU. Keep your word, cut the contract with Wendy’s!”