Last Sunday, farmworkers stood alongside religious leaders from across the city of Columbus, Wendy’s hometown, for a moving interfaith service at First Congregational United Church of Christ. The next day, it was time not just one, but two, powerful actions calling for a halt to sexual violence in Wendy's supply chain — first at the heart of the national Boot the Braids Campaign at The Ohio State University and the second outside of the Wendy’s Headquarters in Dublin!
In the morning, with spirits buoyed by the support of the Columbus community, CIW members headed to Ohio State University carrying a beautiful quilt composed of patches stitched together and designed by Immokalee farmworkers. The quilt gave voice to the workers’ experiences with sexual harassment and violence in the fields, to their thoughts on the extraordinary transformation brought about by the Fair Food Program, and to their firm belief that Wendy’s will one day join them in the struggle to build a more humane agricultural industry. They arrived — accompanied by OSU students who fasted for seven days in support of the OSU Boot the Braids Campaign last spring — at the university President’s office, prepared to share the quilt, and their urgent concerns, with OSU President Michael Drake.
Later on that same Monday afternoon, farmworkers gathered in Dublin, Ohio, across the highway from Wendy’s Headquarters. And they were not alone. Scores of students, faith leaders, and community members arrived, undaunted by the cold and drizzling rain, to stand with the workers from Immokalee, including representatives from Faith in Public Life, First Congregational Church, the First Unitarian Universalists of Columbus, the Methodist Theological School in Ohio, The Little Minyan Kehillah, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Franklinton Farms, the Central Ohio Workers Center, Working America, AFL-CIO, Planned Parenthood, OSU Student/Farmworker Alliance, OSU Real Food Challenge, Clarion University College Democrats (who drove all the way from Pennsylvania!).
In spite of the increasingly long and loud picket growing outside the windows of their corporate offices — and the letter of invitation to a meeting sent months earlier by the Women’s Group — Wendy’s representatives informed the police that they would not to come face-to-face with the women from Immokalee’s fields, instead choosing to remain hidden behind the tall glass doors of their headquarters...