On March 20th, Starbucks held their annual shareholder meeting in Seattle, WA. Supporters were there from Farm Worker Ministry-North West (FWM-NW): Connie Yost, president of FWM-NW, John Nichols, a long time supporter from Oregon and treasurer of FWM-NW and Carla Shaefer, Bellingham area organizer with Familias Unidas por la Justicia. They were supporting the protest outside and several took proxies inside the meeting, prepared to speak on behalf of dairy workers.
Inside, the first person to speak during the question/answer portion was John Nichols who provided the face and voice of faith to what would be a majority of speakers addressing Darigold as a supplier of Starbucks milk products. Moments later Jorge Monreal, the son of a dairy worker spoke. His mother, Maria Gonzalez, won an EEOC claim for sexual abuse and retaliation during her employment at a dairy farm in Washington. His witness and her presence in the audience as he pointed to her were a powerful message to the company and they seemed visibly moved.
But it’s not over. The pressure on Starbucks is so they will put pressure on Darigold so they will put pressure on Ruby Ridge dairy, part of their dairy cooperative and the people countersuing the UFW and the Darigold Dozen on May 22nd.
NFWM is grateful to all you who made videos to post on Facebook, sent messages, signed the petition, posted photos in front of Starbucks, delivered store managers letters, turned out for the shareholders meeting and for all the prayers and good thoughts that led up to this event. Please don’t stop now. Continue to pray. Continue to take store manager letters as we asked you in October. Continue to post videos. Continue to post a message for Starbucks on social media. KEEP THE PRESSURE ON!
Jorge Monreal, a high school student from eastern Washington, gave Starbucks this challenge, “Can you look me in the eye and tell me you’ll protect the women working to supply your milk?”