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“You give them something to eat.” Matt. 14:16

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers

People marching with CIW sign

Farmworkers from CIW lead over 1,000 people to Publix Supermarket headquarters in Lakeland, FL during the Farmworker Freedom March, March 2010, courtesy CIW.

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers is a community-based, human rights award-winning workers’ organization in Immokalee, Florida, and a mission partner of the PC(USA) Read more about the CIW, about conditions in the Florida tomato fields, and the history of the Campaign for Fair Food.

The CIW has been honored nationally and internationally for its ground-breaking and effective work to address what have been intractable problems of poverty wages, lack of rights and, in extreme instances, cases of modern slavery in the fields by the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial, Anti-Slavery International and the US Department of State.  Read more on these and other honors.

The CIW’s anti-slavery work has been lauded by the US Department of State which named the CIW’s anti-slavery coordinator the first US-based anti-trafficking hero in its 2010 Trafficking in Persons Report.  The CIW is a co-founder of the Freedom Network USA, the anti-trafficking NGO with which the PC(USA) partners to train professionals on human trafficking awareness.  The CIW is a partner with the Collier County Sheriff’s Department Anti-Trafficking Unit and a Florida Legislature-appointed member of the Florida Statewide Task Force on Human Trafficking and has written or collaborated on numerous training manuals for law enforcement, including the Florida Dept. of Law Enforcement (FDLE), curriculum for Advanced Investigative Techniques in Human Trafficking.

A man shaking Pres. Jimmy Carter's hand

President Jimmy Carter congratulates Oscar Oztoy of the CIW at the CIW’s FL Modern Slavery Museum.

The CIW’s Fair Food Program has been applauded by Tom Vilsack, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Hilda Solis, U.S. Secretary of Labor, and former President Jimmy Carter, who has engaged corporate food leaders to work with the CIW and visited the CIW’s FL Modern Slavery Museum.

The CIW’s work to improve the human rights of farmworkers and create accountability and transparency in the corporate tomato industry was first supported by local Presbyterians in Peace River and Tampa Bay presbyteries in the early 1990s.  In 2002, the General Assembly voted to support the Campaign for Fair Food and in 2006 voted to establish an ongoing partnership with the CIW and ongoing support for the Campaign for Fair Food. Further background on the church’s work with the CIW.

A woman with a protest sign

The Rev. Dr. Susan Andrews, Moderator of the 215th General Assembly, rallies outside Yum! Brands headquarters in 2004.

The CIW has been the recipient of two Self Development of People grants; the first to help start-up the CIW and the second to expand its work.  In 2004, one half of the General Assembly Moderator’s offering was given to the CIW; this was matched by donations from the Peace River Presbytery.  This dual offering served as the down-payment for the CIW’s Community Center.  Subsequently the Presbyterian Foundation extended the CIW a low-interest loan to renovate the building.  The Center is the hub of the Immokalee community providing a food co-op, meeting space for cultural events, a home for the CIW’s low-power FM radio, and offices for the anti-slavery and general campaign work of the CIW.  Read more about the Community Center and how you can support it.

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