Over 80 students and youth convene in Immokalee for #2019Encuentro, roll out plans for escalated action in the Wendy’s Boycott this fall!

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Young people from across the U.S. strategize to unite against Wendy’s with two key mobilizations in focus for the fall semester: a National Day of Action on Oct. 28 and major march in NYC on Nov. 18

PLUS: Over 150 farmworkers, Encuentro participants and Southwest Florida allies turn out for a rocking rally at local Wendy’s off bustling U.S. 41 in Naples, FL…

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There’s no better way to kick off the fall season than by welcoming over 80 young leaders to Immokalee for the Student/Farmworker Alliance’s annual Encuentro convening!  The 2019 Encuentro ushered in over 80 allies — representing 41 campuses and communities across the country — into SFA’s ever-expanding farmworker solidarity network. This year’s gathering, themed “La Lucha Sigue” (The Struggle Continues), highlighted the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ successful human rights model to end exploitation in corporate supply chains and fortified participants’ commitment to organize around the national Wendy’s Boycott.  

Participants spent the bulk of the weekend making plans to mobilize for CIW’s upcoming major mobilization in New York City on Nov. 18, and honing their organizing skills to ramp up campaigns back in their home communities.  On Saturday, the Encuentro joined forces with farmworkers from Immokalee and longtime Southwest Florida allies for a high-energy protest at a local Wendy’s in Naples, FL, where SFA leaders declared a National Day of Action on Oct. 28!

Today, we bring you a play-by-play of the 2019 SFA Encuentro, interwoven with beautiful photos from some of our favorite moments:

Day 1: Thursday, Sept. 26
The inspiring farmworker women leaders of the CIW Women’s Group began the weekend with a warm bienvenida to the Coalition’s colorful Community Center during the opening ceremony, which set a grounding tone within the Immokalee community for the rest of the long weekend.  As the sun set in Immokalee, participants shared their unique stories of courage, love and resistance, while assembling a community altar made up of items representing the people and movements that had guided them to the Encuentro and the powerful community of Fair Food allies. 

Day 2: Friday, Sept. 27 
Rising bright and early, participants gathered to start the day enjoying a dreamy theater skit by leaders of the CIW, which highlighted the important role students and young allies play in holding corporations accountable for human rights abuses and introduced CIW’s organizing philosophy of “Consciousness + Commitment = Change”.  The packed day continued with presentations from members of the 2019 SFA Steering Committee and a series of skill-building workshops on base-building, community organizing and grassroots fundraising. Participants also dove deep into the inner-workings of the Worker-driven Social Responsibility model and the incredible impact of Fair Food Program on farmworkers’ everyday lives. 

Day 3: Saturday, Sept. 28
The third day of the Encuentro started with a buzz of energy as participants forged strong alliances between regions, cities, and schools, creating concrete plans for the fast-approaching National Day of Action on Oct. 28 and this fall’s major mobilization to New York City on Nov. 18.  By midday on Saturday, participants were beaming with confidence from the day’s sessions and were ready to put their newly-learned skills into action! 

The Encuentro crew made its way to a local Wendy’s in Naples, FL, off busy U.S. 41, to meet up with farmworkers from Immokalee, their children, and Southwest Florida allies for a powerful picket with vibrant art, joyous music and chants, and a unified message demanding a Fair Food commitment from Wendy’s! 

The spirit and vigor of the action was carried back to Immokalee, where the CIW and participants shared a warm meal together before celebrating the rich mix of cultures in the room during the longstanding SFA tradition at the Encuentro, Café Cultura.  Performances ranged from spoken word, to stellar musical numbers, to folkloric dances — and even a tiny kitchen show led by CIW’s Nely Rodriguez and Antonia Martinez demonstrating how to make homemade tortillas! 

It was indeed a night to remember, filled with colorful skirts, traditional marimba music from Guatemala, birthday celebrations and delicious tres leches cake, laughter and a message of solidarity with Migrant Justice’s Milk with Dignity Campaign… 

Day 4: Sunday, Sept. 29 
As the fourth and final day of the Encuentro began there was still much learning and reflecting left to be done.  Quayneshia Smith, South Florida regional organizer of Dream Defenders and longtime CIW ally, led us in examining the work we need to do in order to build a free world for everyone, and the importance of placing Black and Brown femmes at the forefront of our movements for collective liberation.  We closed out the Encuentro weekend by reflecting on what we’re bringing back with us to our communities and ready to put on blast our plans for SFA’s National Day of Action on Oct. 28 and CIW’s massive march in NYC on Nov. 18. 

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All in all, the 2019 Encuentro served as a critical tool to sharpen our network’s ability to organize for long-term, sustainable change in our country’s food system and grounded us in the responsibility to work in solidarity with the workers who put food on our tables. 

Stay tuned for more resources and updates on SFA’s upcoming National Day of Action on Oct. 28 and the major march in NYC set for Nov. 18!  If you’re ready to make moves with us, reach out at organize@sfalliance.org

BOYCOTT! 👏  WENDY’S! 👏