Humanitarian Weekend

The Senate debated and passed the 13th Amendment on April 8, 1864, by a vote of 38 to 6. This weekend, 144 years later, was filled with events that reverberate with the same intentions: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude… shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

On Friday, April 11, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ humanitarian efforts against modern-day slavery were recognized by the Interfaith Action of Southwest Florida in a gala event in Naples, Florida.

In the past decade, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers has assisted in the investigation and prosecution of six slavery cases and freed over 1,000 workers from the shackles of modern-say slavery. Last year, they received the 2007 Anti-Slavery Award from the London-based Anti-Slavery International, the world’s oldest international human rights organization. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Campaign for Human Development has also honored the coalition with the Sister Margaret Cafferty Award.

This award comes in good time, bringing the spotlight back to their campaign for fair wages. The coalition has been lobbying to have the Miami-based fast-food giant Burger King agree to pay a penny more to pickers for over a year and this April 28, they plan to deliver their signed petition to Burger King headquarters.

All the proceeds from the gala event will benefit the renovation of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ community center on Second Street South, which they acquired in 2004. Unlike their small rental space on S. 3rd St., the new center will include a multilingual media library, reading room, computer lab, anti-slavery office, consumer cooperative, community room, work area and a large parking lot.

The Coalition plans to move in this summer.

Yesterday, Oprah Winfrey, Glenn Close, and othe high-profile figures gathered in New Orleans for the 10th anniversary of V-Day, a global movement to end violence against women and girls.

Read more about the Coalition of Immokalee Workers Gala event at The Naples Daily News. Read about modern enslavement at The Washington Times.

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