I am my “sister’s” keeper: Faith Leaders and Farm Workers Gather on International Women’s Day

Olgha 1As the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) continue their “Now is the Time” Tour to bring awareness to the injustices experienced by farm workers harvesting tomatoes for both Wendy’s and Publix, National Farm Worker Ministry’s own Board of Directors member Olgha Sierra Sandman proves that faith organizations are standing on the side of justice.

NFWM called on thousands of partners across the eastern United States to support CIW and Sandman answered that calling.  CIW is shedding light on the unjust treatment of tomato pickers in Florida and is asking Wendy’s and Publix to join the Fair Food Program and ensure that all growers are treating farm workers in their employment ethically.  They started in Immokalee, Florida and marched through Georgia, North Carolina and Ohio.  Next weekend, a finale is planned back in Lakeland, Florida.

Sandman, who represents the Church Women United in Illinois, joined CIW in Columbus, Ohio alongside hundreds of others.  On International Women’s Day, Sandman and CIW are bringing special attention to the issues women face on farms.

Sandman said about the event, “This is a new day!  The Coalition of Immokalee Workers is so positive.  It was inspiring to see the hundreds of people there to support them and that two thirds of the people attending were students.  I marched the two miles with them!  I went home particularly uplifted by the women’s leadership.  Women farm workers are now speaking about their concerns and saying, ‘no more!’ to abuse and unfair treatment.”

In a survey of farm workers in California, 90% of women listed sexual harassment as a major problem in the fields.  Farm worker women, who make up 22% of the agricultural workforce in America, also face serious violations of their human and reproductive rights.  NFWM is proud to stand beside the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.

Join NFWM in Lakeland, Florida on March 14th and 15th!  Find more details here.




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