The Vehicle of Justice Is On Its Way

J – U – S… J- U – S – T – I – C – E…  IS WHAT WE WANT!

JUSTICE FOR IMMOKALEE!

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One! We are the people!

Two! A little bit louder!

Three! We want justice for farmworkers!

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.Que queremos? Justicia! (What do we want? Justice!)

Cuando? Ahora! (When do we want it? Now!)

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Sub-poverty wages (One must harvest nearly 2.5 TONS of tomatoes to earn minimum wage for a 10-hr day)

No raises (virtually the same piece rate for over 30 years).

Sexual harassment and abuse.

In extreme cases, farmworkers are held in modern-day slavery through violence or threats of violence.

This is why we march.

Joining the core 100-150 marchers that marched the entire 200 miles from Fort Meyers to Lakeland were another 1200 or so supporters. The group had gained several hundred people as it trekked from city to city and I was grateful to be counted among the hundreds that joined in on it’s final day of marching.

I spent the day with brothers and sisters from across the nation who had come together in solidarity and love – all seeking a commitment from Publix to ensure fair wages and dignity for the state’s farmworkers.

Sweaty, feet covered in blisters, sunburned, and thirsty… we sang and chanted and celebrated the entire 6 miles to Publix headquarters. There were babies, students, farmworkers, elderly women clinging to walkers, and the 4 of us. It was a beautifully exhausting day.

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By the final mile I was shuffling more than marching and desperately wishing I had saved some of my water until the end. Each time I would glance longingly at what looked to be increasingly comfortable patches of dirt on the side of the road, someone would start another chant and I would find myself surging with energy and joining in…

Hey Publix, Shame on you!

Farmworkers are people too!

We chanted this as we walked the final few yards to Publix Headquarters. An exasperated little girl, of 5 or so, looked up at her mother and asked, “Why do we have to keep saying that? We already know they’re people.” (out of the mouths of babes).

Her mother’s answer, “Sometimes corporations forget. We’re here to remind them”

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“We’re not asking them to invent anything, the wheel is already going, the vehicle of justice is already on its way, but Publix doesn’t want to be a part of it.’ – Lucas Benitez  (CIW Founder)

“We extend our hands toward you Publix. We are not against you, we are for justice,” – Rabbi Brian Schuldenfrei

More photos and video from the day can be found here.

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