The March for Rights, Respect, and Fair Food organized by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) is currently underway. The CIW and activists are calling on Publix Super Markets to join the Fair Food Program. The 200 mile march began on March 3, 2013, in Fort Myers, Fla. and ends on March 17, 2013, in Lakeland, Fla. at Publix Super Market's headquarters.
Members from Denver Fair Food (DFF), a delegation from Regis University, the Student Farm Worker Alliance, and activists from around the nation have been marching for more than a week. In Oct., 2012, Chipotle signed the Fair Food Agreement in Denver, beside members of the CIW and DFF. The Fair Food Program was created in 2000 and seeks to provide farm workers with human rights, humane labor standards, and living wages for the tomato pickers in Immokalee, Fla. Immokalee Fla., is one of the poorest cities in the U.S., the majority of workers are below the poverty line.
In 2008, Cesar Navarrete and Geovanni Navarette were sent to prison for enslaving Mexican and Guatemalan tomato pickers. In the book "Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt," Chris Hedges elaborated on the violence the farm workers received:
"The Navarette brothers, who often carried pistols, routinely made the men work seven days a week. The family would pocket most and sometimes all of the men's paychecks. The workers were charged $20 a week by the Navarettes to sleep inside locked sheds, vans, or an old furniture truck, where they had no choice but to urinate and defecate in the corner."
Author and pastor Brian McLaren released an editorial on the Huffington Post regarding the farm worker march stating:
"So every time we 'say grace' and thank God for our food, let us also listen to the voices of some of our nation's hardest-working people -- people to whom we are connected by what we eat. We will hear in their voices a moral summons to all of us -- to corporate executives at Publix, and to buyers like you and me. 'We are poor,' they say, 'but we, too, are human beings.'"
Although Publix has refused to meet with the CIW and to sign the Fair Food Agreement, the marchers are hopeful they will reach an agreement with Publix at their headquarters on March 17.
For more photos from the march visit photographer's JJ Tiziou's website: http://www.jjtiziou.net/jj/community/the-ciw-is-marching-again-and-im-he...