Churches Rally Alongside Immokalee Workers in Sweltering Heat

( [email protected] ) Mar 06, 2004 09:06 AM EST

Irvine -- Members of the several denominations and church groups cheered and marched alongside the Coalition of Immakolee workers as they walked 44 miles amid the sweltering sun in Southern California for three days, March 2 - March 5.

“Obviously marching 44 miles is exhausting, but it was energizing to see the workers’ spirit and plight,” said Noelle Damico, a Presbyterian Church (USA) minister and staff coordinator for the event.

The Southern California march was part of the 10-day “for FAIR food that respects human rights, not fast-food that exploits human beings" movement that took to the road on February 25th. More than 100 farmworkers from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), the Florida-based farmworker organization spearheading the national Taco Bell boycott, set off on the 2004 Taco Bell Truth Tour, taking the truth about the exploitation behind Taco Bell's products to consumers from Kentucky to California.

The Tour’s highlight was the 3-day event, which included a 44-mile march from East LA to Taco Bell’s corporate headquarters in Irvine, CA. The march ended with a major five-hour rally.

According to Rev. Damico, the rally united several different denominations who came out to the rally.

“The first denomination to endorse the boycott was the united church of Christ in July of 2001. Then, a Presbyterian endorsed it in July of 2002. Then we were followed by the American friends, the Unitarian service committee, the Christian Church disciples of Christ, the NCC which has a body of 36 denominations joined us, and last week, the California Coalition of Churches also joined,” said Rev. Damico.

Following their 3 day rally and march, the St. Mark Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach, CA, provided room and board for the exhausted workers.