Harvest without Violence: January 2018 National Clergy Fast
Throughout December 1997 and January 1998, six farmworkers in Immokalee, FL, made the decision to stop eating until the growers who owned the farms on which they toiled would hear their concerns. Forced labor, low wages, poor safety regulations, and sexual violence plagued Florida tomato fields, and the workers who picked in those fields demanded better conditions. The hunger strike lasted thirty days, and only ended when former President Jimmy Carter and Bishop Nevins of the Catholic Diocese of Venice intervened to call for a dialogue with growers on the condition that the workers would break their fast. On January 18, 1998, they did.

The fight for justice in the agricultural industry ongoing. Incredible progress has been made through the CIW's Presidential Medal-winning Fair Food Program, but outside of the protections of the Fair Food Program in seven states along the East Coast, wages are still stagnant, workers are still vulnerable, and the vast majority of women who work in the fields are still subject to sexual violence.

On the twentieth anniversary of the hunger strike, January 18, 2018, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers is calling on its national network of allied faith leaders to observe a day of fasting in remembrance of the history of the workers' struggle and in a show of commitment to the Wendy's Boycott to bring farms and the last fast food holdout into the Fair Food Program. Clergy of all faiths have the opportunity to raise the moral issue of the oppression of farmworkers, to give of their time and resources to the building of a new economy. Let us, in the spirit of unity and justice, respond to that call.

To commit to a day of fasting on January 18, and to learn more about the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and the Alliance for Fair Food, sign up below!

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