Tuesday, June 21, 2011

NC protesters: "Quiznos has no biznos paying less for our tomatoes!"

A couple week ago the Coalition of Immokalee Workers website reported on a protest in North Carolina outside a Quiznos restaurant. We wanted to share the story of this fun and creative demonstration as well.

Students took to the streets in Winston Salem, North Carolina -- with the venerable Student Action with Farmworkers -- in a colorful and creative protest last week outside a local Quiznos. Here's a first-hand photo report, straight from our long-time allies at SAF:

Friday June 3, 2011, in Winston Salem, North Carolina, thirty students gathered together to demand that Quiznos pay one more penny per pound of tomatoes picked by Immokalee farmworkers. These students joined together from the East Coast, West Coast, and Midwest to participate in Student Action with Farmworkers’ Into the Fields (ITF) summer internship and the Sowing Seeds for Change fellowship. Although they just met on the previous Wednesday, this diverse group of farmworker students and conscious Southeastern allies came together to promote justice and change.

This vocal group lined up along a sidewalk directly outside the Quiznos shopping center and chanted shame slogans in both English and Spanish. Not only were these passionate individuals, but creative as well, coming up with slogans such as “Quiznos has no buiznos, paying less for our tomatoes.” In addition to the large group that was waving signs and marching on the sidewalk, several students dispersed fliers advertising the “Penny more per Pound” campaign and history. Many interesting conversations arose from sympathetic observers, including one man who remembered picking up tomatoes from Florida farms and being shocked by the conditions that the farmworkers faced on a daily basis.

A delegation of students delivered an official letter outlining their demands of Quiznos to the store manager. The store manager was receptive to the group and said that he was concerned and supportive of the Penny more per Pound cause. Consequently, the manager agreed to sign the letter and send it to Corporate.

The satellite group of students that had spoken with the manager, and others that were dispersing pamphlets, all reunited with the larger marching group for the final moments of the action.

Great work, everyone! Summertime is clearly time for action in North Carolina.

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