Thank you to one of our members for giving us a first hand account of what the CIW Worker’s tour Ohioh action was like this year!
You couldn’t look away. You heard the voices of the hundreds of people gathered together, echoing as they continued forward. Forward- that is what the people united sound like. Forward- the signs of justice were literally everywhere. They said things like “derechos humanos” (human rights) and “Columbus demands Fair Food now!” Forward- that is what solidarity looked like.
On a brisk Sunday morning in early March, twelve members from DC Fair Food joined hundreds of people – including Coalition of Immokalee Workers, people of faith, and students – protesting the greed and oppression the fast food company Wendy’s continues to perpetuate by not signing the Fair Food Agreement. The message was simple: as the final major fast food company to hold out on signing the Fair Food Agreement (which protects the rights of farm workers and allows them to earn a living wage by simply paying a penny more per pound), Wendy’s needs to stop being stubborn and get on board!
We marched from a central park area, through a busy street with people at brunch or shopping, past the Ohio State University, and ended in another park, stopping only briefly to demonstrate outside of a Wendy’s restaurant. People took pictures and videos of us, waved, and expressed support as we marched and chanted. Members from the protest passed out fliers and educated folks on what the march was for. And the atmosphere was electrifying with the collective excitement and passion that folks were bringing in the pursuit of justice for the farm workers.
However, the march was just the apex of the event. It was sandwiched (not a Wendy’s sandwich, of course) between an enjoyable night of communities from across the Northeast coming together, eating, and dancing to Olmeca and Romero Norteño, and between a theater production of a doomed engagement between Wendy’s and the “Tomato of Wrath”. In this depiction, Wendy’s was about to marry the “Tomato of Wrath” a symbol of corporate evil that consistently rejected the rights of workers and refused to sign the agreement for fair food. Thankfully, the engagement – rooted in greed, stubbornness, and exploitation – was rejected by everyone including the farm workers, the growers, and the consumers. At the conclusion, Wendy’s was ordered to join the Fair Food Agreement by the justice of the peace! Now, if we could just get the real Wendy’s to sign on to support farmworkers instead of shifting its production to Mexico, caring more about publicity than people, and profiting from farmworker poverty. Hence, the boycott!
The Workers Voice tour continued forward on to Louisville and through different spots in Florida, weaving its way through communities just like Columbus, OH that showed support for the amazing human rights movement of the Coalition of the Immokalee Workers. And after a quick weekend full of marching and memories, we too continued forward to our home of DC. Exhausted but invigorated, we reflected on our highlights of the trip (below). And continuously inspired by the work of the CIW, DC Fair Food continues to move forward in this path towards Fair Food justice, engaging our local Washington DC community to join us in the fight against Wendy’s. Forward- yes, we must keep moving forward, for it is justice for farm workers that we seek.
We invite you all to participate in our next event, “Boycott Wendy’s! Stand with Farm Workers DC Action”on Sunday, May 14th.