Just two years ago, the CIW and thousands of allies flooded the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, for a massive and unforgettable Parade and Concert for Fair Food. Replete with stunningly colorful floats and billowing painted parachutes…
… as well as dozens of homemade banners representing communities from across the country, the 2015 parade combined the exuberance of a hometown festival with the irresistible demand for justice of the Campaign for Fair Food.
Art at the crossroads of joy and justice has long been a hallmark of the movement for Fair Food. And the herculean amount of cutting, taping, painting, printing, and sewing that goes into a typical CIW major action is only ever possible with the help of many hands and many creative minds. But this year, we need even more hands on deck for the Parade for Human Rights in Columbus, Ohio!
Now just one month out from the culmination of the Return to Human Rights Tour in Wendy’s hometown, the finishing touches are being added to what promises to be a whirlwind weekend of action! We will kick off the weekend with a powerful vigil on Friday, March 24, to be held directly outside Wendy’s headquarters in Dublin, Ohio. On Saturday, as allies pour into Columbus from all corners of the AFF network, Ohio Fair Food and CIW will host a “World Café” conference and concert, digging deeper into the national Wendy's Boycott as well as learn from other justice movements across the U.S. (featuring, of course, an original Immokalee popular education theater piece — stay tuned!).
Finally, as the centerpiece of the weekend’s events, thousands of allies will gather at the heart of Columbus on Sunday, March 26 for the Parade for Human Rights. The Parade will weave through downtown and straight into the campus of The Ohio State University, where students are building a Boot the Braids Campaign that grows stronger by the day. Together, we will unmask Wendy’s in its own hometown, and call on Wendy’s join the Fair Food Program.
To make the Parade as big and beautiful as possible, Immokalee workers are calling on all Fair Food groups, congregations, university groups, and any and every parade participant to join the national art team. Whether you want to make a banner, or create a magnificent float, to represent your community in the Parade for Human Rights, we welcome your creative talent. Download the CIW’s official invitation to join the art team — we have it both in English and Spanish! — and get in touch with the Immokalee-based crew to let us know what you’re planning.
And, of course, whether you come equipped with artwork or not, we look forward to seeing you in Columbus on March 26th! If you haven’t had a chance to register your group, your caravan, or yourself as an individual participant, make sure to do so over at the Wendy’s Boycott website. And while you’re at it, check out the list of caravans and buses as they make plans to head to Columbus next month.
To close, we have some final words from CIW’s Leonel Perez, who has spent the past month in nonstop presentations and meetings in Ohio and across the Midwest to get the word out about the upcoming parade:
“Consciousness + Commitment = Change. Again, I want to thank you all for participating in today’s meeting. You help to give us the strength to continue fighting. Thanks to the participation of allies to the CIW, farmworkers’ rights exist. We have to keep the Campaign going — we have to move Wendy’s to do the right thing!”