Bus Blog: Coalition of Immokalee Workers and Alliance for Fair Food
October 13, 2020
On Thursday October 8, The Nuns on the Bus Virtual Tour had a site visit with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and Alliance for Fair Food. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) is located in Immokalee Florida and is a worker-based human rights organization that fights against human trafficking and gender-based violence. The Alliance for Fair Food (AFF) is a coalition of CIW, Interfaith Action, Student Farmworker Alliance, and Just Harvest that joined together to build collective strength and stand with farmworkers as they advance their struggle for justice and dignity. During the Visit, Sister Simone Campbell spoke with Nely, Julia, Silvia, and Cruz from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers as well as Uriel from the Alliance for Fair Food.
Organizing efforts for both the CIW and AFF begin with this question of “who has power?” Their work has taught them that by gathering together and targeting the massive food corporation who use their power to leverage farmworkers, they are able to make workplace changes such as increased wages and greater protections against violence. During the conversation Silvia emphasized how “gender-based and sexual violence continue to be a big problem in this industry. Through the Alliance for Fair Food we have been able to see a significant change in terms of protections and creating a culture where women are able to speak up without fear of retaliation.”
"I do this work to continue to expand these protections because this campaign is actually bringing change to this community. We know farmworkers have been deemed as essential yet they do not have a lot of protections in order to ensure they are safe." – Julia .@ciw #NunsOnTheBus pic.twitter.com/OYKwFHooMb
— NETWORK (@NETWORKLobby) October 8, 2020
In Immokalee, Florida there have been over 2,250 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Due to a variety of factors in housing, access to medical care, and transportation farmworkers are uniquely vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as Cruz said during the site visit, “all our small actions add up to something momentous. Those small actions have meant a difference to farmworkers having their rights respected” One of those small actions the CIW is asking us to take is to sign the petition calling for the government to take the necessary steps to protect essential farmworkers.