February 14, 2011

Help Bring Austin's Fair Foodistas to Tampa!

Hey out there to all our allies and supporters,

We at Fair Food Austin are writing today to ask you, our supporters, to think about donating $25 to help students, young people, and low-wage workers from the Austin area attend an upcoming march being called for by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a migrant farmworker organization based in southern Florida. 

We're sure you all recall the Boot the Bell Campaign that the CIW won in 2005, where tomato pickers from Florida and their allies, including folks in Austin, boycotted Taco Bell for four years until the company agreed to stop human rights abuses, low wages, and ensure the end of slavery in their tomato supply chain.  Since then, the CIW and their allies the Student/Farmworker Alliance have together secured agreements with ten major global corporations (including McDonalds, Aramark and Whole Foods), many of which Austin played a crucial role in bringing to the table.  All these agreements work towards ending the poverty wages and abuses endemic to agriculture, and securing more dignity and power for working immigrant families, and have recently been joined and strengthened by agreements with some of the largest tomato growers in Florida!  Needless to say, their struggle has had ripple effects, and serves as an influence and model for other organizations, including Workers Defense Project here in Austin.  

Despite all the victories, though, there is still work to be done to make sure these changes are reaching the workers who need it most. This March, workers from the CIW are planning one of their biggest actions in years, asking for 2000 their allies to show up in Florida to the doorstep of Publix Grocery (the 3rd largest grocery chain in the US) and demand the same accountability and respect from Publix's CEOs.  The CIW has asked Texas allies to help turn out 40 people to thismarch, and here in Austin, we're hoping to bring at least 15 people.  

As many of us who have attended large actions know, these spaces can be seriously transformative, especially for young people.  You might not be able to leave work, your thesis, dissertation, your organization, or your classes to come with us, but you can help support this movement by donating $10-$25 to send others.

The CIW's struggle is one of the most widely successful of our generation.  Some of the most marginalized voices in the US right now are not only demanding respect and dignity, but winning it directly from some of the most powerful CEO's in the world.  It may not seem like a lot, but every city bringing 15 people makes the message a whole lot stronger, and your donation along with three other people's makes it possible for one more person to attend.

We are three weeks away and in our final fundraising push, and we only need $500 more to make this happen. Please consider kicking down some money.  We know a lot of you give tons of time and resources to this work already, so if $25 is too much, what can you comfortably contribute?  $5 or $10? Could you ask someone you know to donate?  Everything helps.

Help us make this happen, and help some of Austin's students, youth, and low-wage workers participate in this transformative experience together.  To make a donation, email kandace@sfalliance.org.  Thanks for thinking about it!

In Solidarity,
Fair Food Austin