The last ten days, a group of about 50 Coalition of Immokalee workers have been touring ten cities. They toured last Thursday in Jacksonville. Last Friday, we served them breakfast. We gave cereal, milk, coffee, doughnuts, eggs, potatoes, and oragne juice. A worker spoke to us and told us a little bit of his story.
The tomato pickers are a case of modern day slavery. They are subject to long hours under the hot Florida sun with no shade or water, and subject to abuse. For one big bucket of tomatoes (which was overflowing), they got 50 cents. Now, thanks to the actions of the CIW, they are allowed to have water and shade, and the limit for a bucket as “full” was changed. They can report abuse without fear, and now they get paid 82 cents a bucket. i did not learn anything from the man talking, although it was interesting.
One of the four mitzvahs of Purim, the Jewish holiday that was on Sunday, is to give to the poor. This was giving to the poor because they are poor workers petitioning for rights. Another mitzvah is to have a Purim feast. This was a feast because we invited them to come and eat a big meal. I hope that we can all unite to help the tomato pickers get more and more rights. One day, they will hopefully not be “modern day slaves” any more.
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7833890@N05/473090327/