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.
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.
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!”
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.
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!