The Coalition of Immokalee Workers has launched a Petition Drive to End Modern-Day Slavery and Sweatshops in the Fields. Clifton Kirkpatrick and Linda Valentine have signed the petition and encourage others to join them. The petition calls on Burger King and other food corporations to immediately work with the CIW to increase farmworker wages and establish an enforceable human-rights based code of conduct. Signatories pledge “they are prepared to cease patronizing Burger King now” if the company continues to refuse to do these things. The petition may be signed online or downloaded for use as an educational and organizing tool.
2008 marks the 200th anniversary of the U.S. ban on the importation of slaves. And yet in November of 2007, the seventh instance of slavery in the agricultural industry was uncovered in Immokalee. Indictments were made against six people in January.
The PC(USA) works to address this situation through the Campaign for Fair Food. The campaign works in partnership with farmworkers from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers to establish purchasing practices within the retail food industry that ensure and advance fair wages and other human rights of tomato pickers who labor at the base of these corporate supply chains.
In his public statement on signing the petition, Clifton Kirkpatrick observed, "Jesus Christ inaugurated his ministry and the ministry of what would become his church by quoting from the prophet Isaiah, announcing ‘good news to the poor’ and ‘release to the captives.’ Embracing that call and standing on the shoulders of our ancestors in the abolitionist movement, through this petition campaign, let us proclaim ‘freedom’ for the men and women whose labor puts food on our tables.