A New Phase in the Abolitionist Movement

When one eats fast food guilt often comes into ones mind, however the guilt that one is usually feels is that based more on glutinous pleasure, and not that of one who is not contributing to the harm of another persons well being. However it is here at the fast food counter that one is unbeknownst contributing to the enslavement of others. — Cassandra Clifford, Is Your Family Eating Slave Tomatoes?

A couple of days ago, workers, human rights activists and congressmen got together to kick off a new phase in the modern abolitionist movement centered around the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ petition. This petition asks food industry leaders to address the wages and conditions of workers in the fields. Focusing on the non-compliant fast food giant Burger King, it also asks that those who sign be “prepared to stop patronizing Burger King now, and other food industry leaders in the future, should they fail to do so.”

Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) as well as Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), signed the petition.

The AFL-CIO blog has a great article about the meeting which touches on the Coalition of Immokalee Worker’s history of activism, their recent issues with Burger King and one of the latest slavery cases to come out of Florida’s fields. AFL-CIO president John Sweeney, it should be noted, also signed the petition.

Lucas Benitez, a member of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and the winner of the 2003 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award, told those gathered:

In the tradition of the abolitionist movement, where legislators, consumers and workers joining to demand sugar, free from the scourge of slavery, helped bring an end to the slave trade, this petition marks the strength of a growing alliance in the U.S. demanding fair food and an end to slavery in its modern-day form. Both in Washington today and across the nation, the struggle against the existence of humiliating and often brutal forms of forced labor in America’s produce fields may no longer be ignored.

Read the entire piece at the AFL-CIO blog or read the coverage and see pictures at CIW Online.


One response to “A New Phase in the Abolitionist Movement

  1. John,

    I am honored you would choose to use some of my words. I have long admired your work and your dedication to the cause. I have had the pleasure to meet with Lucas and I hope to do more work for CIW in the near future.

    Please let me know if there is anything the FPA, DC Stop Modern Slavery, or I can do to assist your work in the movement.

    Keep up the great work!


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