In the fall of 2008, Sen. Bernie Sanders visited Immokalee on a fact-finding tour. He came to investigate the human rights crisis in the fields of Florida and the then fierce industry resistance to the CIW’s vision of a more modern, more humane agricultural industry. His intervention helped break that resistance and launch what today has become the single most successful human rights program in US agriculture, the Fair Food Program. It was also the inspiration for this remarkable video from his campaign earlier this year:
Following his visit, Sen. Sanders summed up his impression of the CIW and their struggle with these words:
“The Coalition of Immokalee Workers has proven that when you get up every day to fight for what is right, when you don’t give up even when all the odds are against you, when you don’t compromise on basic principles of fairness, and when you build a strong grassroots movement, economic justice will prevail over greed, and the least fortunate can successfully stand up to the powerful.” — U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, 2008
The new world of dignity and respect for fundamental human rights born of the Fair Food Program is truly a singular achievement. But the movement that has won those gains can’t stop now. Hundreds of thousands of farmworkers across the country continue to suffer from the grinding poverty and unspeakable abuse at the hands of their employers that has characterized farm labor for generations. The Fair Food Nation’s challenge today is to continue expanding the Fair Food Program into new states and new crops, to continue — against all odds — bending the arc of the moral universe toward justice.
And to reach that next level, we need the help of allies and supporters, now more than ever. Today, on Giving Tuesday, we are joining the CIW to call on allies like you to become Fair Food Sustainers.
We need you to join the growing ranks of Fair Food allies who make a monthly donation — whether it is $1,000 or $100 or $10 a month. With your sustained support, we can continue to ensure that farmworker women who face sexual violence have access to swift and decisive justice in the fields, and that the world’s largest corporations are held to account for the human rights abuses in their supply chains.
To be sure, defending farmworkers’ basic human rights in this country has never been an easy task. This year’s stunning election results stand to make that task only more daunting.
Yet we know that, in the face of the extraordinary challenges that lie ahead of us, there are millions of people across the country like you asking themselves how they can step up in the years ahead to support the vision of a better world they believe in. Becoming a Fair Food Sustainer is an immediate, concrete step that you can take to advance fundamental human rights and dignity for some of this country’s least protected workers.
Now more than ever, we must remain steadfast in our principles, we must get up and work hard every single day, and we must defy the odds. This Giving Tuesday, join the Fair Food Sustainer Program today, and share the call to action with your community!