Intern Blog: Church Delegation with ERUUF and NFWM

By Blake Daniel, Duke Divinity Intern

Yesterday I traveled to a remote farm in north-central North Carolina as part of the National Farm Worker Ministry’s farmworker outreach project. My fellow NFWM workers and I traveled with some ten members of the Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship to pay a visit to a group of migrant Latino men who have been working in the tobacco fields all summer. Our goal in visiting was one of solidarity. Most of us from NFWM and ERUUF have spent time learning about the lives and hardships of migrant workers in the U.S. and, as such, we were eager to dialogue with and befriend members of this group that so often goes unnoticed.

We spent the better part of the afternoon in fellowship at the workers’ house, which was an aged trailer sitting in solitude amongst acres of tobacco crops. My fellow intern Lauren led us all in introductions and ice-breakers. Members of ERUUF provided a lunch replete with ham, macaroni salad, fresh fruit, and ice-cold Pepsi.

Intern Blog: Reflections from the Fields – A Visit to Three Farm Labor Camps in One Night

By Blake Daniel, Duke Divinity Intern

I’m always struck by the drive out of Durham and into farm country.

Lauren and I meet up with Rebecca from the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, and the three of us make the trek to visit farmworker labor camps in rural North Carolina. We leave behind the gothic architecture of Duke University and the exposed brick of downtown Durham to, abruptly, find ourselves immersed in agriculture. As my fellow intern Lauren drives, I look out the window to see classic signs of Americana: red barns with Coke logos painted on the side, American flags flying in front of quaint farmhouses, “Jesus Saves” scrawled on makeshift marquees, and rusted-out Chevys, amongst other detritus, littering the shoulder, all of which seem to reach back into a bygone era. I take in the landscape glowing amber in the setting sun as we suddenly pull off the road and into a gravel parking area. A stray dog ambles by, a rooster crows, and I look up to see a single-wide trailer at the end of the driveway. We’ve reached the farmworker labor camp.

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NFWM Board Member Bro. Mark Schroeder Leads Prayer at Gov. Schwarzenegger’s office

bro mark praying.jpgNFWM Board member, Bro. Mark Schroeder (left), led a group in prayer outside of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s office on Tuesday, July 20th as they hand-delivered a bill that would require overtime pay equity for farm workers. Schwarzenegger has 12 days from Tuesday to sign or veto the bill. Also pictured are United Farm Workers President, Arturo Rodriguez (left) and the bill’s sponsor, State Sen. Dean Florez (D-Shafter)(center).

Click HERE for a Sacramento Bee article, The Buzz: Farmworkers deliver overtime bill to Schwarzenegger’s office.

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NFWM’s Bert Perry Delivers State Department’s "Trafficking in Persons" Report to Publix Headquarters

Bert Perry at Publix.JPG
Bert Perry (right) of National Farm Worker Ministry hands Publix representative a copy of the State Department TIP report.

On Tuesday, June 29th, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, allies from Interfaith Action and the National Farm Worker Ministry, and a reporter and photographer from the Florida Catholic traveled to Publix corporate headquarters in Lakeland, FL to deliver a copy of the U. S. State Department’s recently released “Trafficking in Persons” (TIP) report. The delegation had hoped to get a meeting with Publix representatives to discuss Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s remarks on the urgent need for corporations to take responsibility for cleaning up human rights abuses in their supply chains.

Instead, they were met outside the offices at the security gate, by a Publix employee who said that he had no authority to speak on behalf of Publix. He accepted a copy of the TIP report and, after a brief exchange with NFWM’s Bert Perry, returned to Publix’s headquarters with the report.

As the CIW says, “It’s time for Publix to stop burying its head in the sand and to heed the growing call for farm labor justice. It’s time for Publix to meet with the CIW and join the growing partnership for real supply chain accountability.”

In related news, at the State Department’s 2010 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report ceremony on June 14th, CIW’s Laura Germino was recognized as an “anti-Trafficking Hero.” In his introduction of Laura, Ambassador-at-Large Luis CdeBaca said, “There have been many cases exposing servitude for both sex and labor in Florida. And the Coalition of the Immokalee Workers and Laura Germino have always been there. They’ve been important partners and, more importantly, an independent and pressing voice as they uncover slavery rings, tap the power of the workers, and hold companies and governments accountable.”

Click HERE to link to the Nation magazine article, Human Trafficking: Not Someone Else’s Problem, about Laura Germino’s award and the TIP report.

For more news from the CIW’s Campaign for Fair Food, click HERE.

Contact us

National Farm Worker Ministry
P.O. Box 10645
112 Cox Ave., Suite 208
Raleigh, NC 27605
Email us here
919-807-8707 (office)