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LETTER: Thanks for CIW contribution

By Staff | Nov 26, 2008

To the editor,


On behalf of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), I want to extend our heartfelt gratitude to Ms. Deborah Dearborn for her kind support in helping to make our long-held dream of a Community Center for Immokalee’s farmworker community a reality.

As a result of efforts together with people of faith and community members from throughout Southwest Florida, we have urged a significant number of retail tomato purchasers to take seriously the dignity of the human beings harvesting the tomatoes that these companies sell.

In the face of seven slavery convictions in Florida agriculture since 1997, we now have agreements supporting both robust codes of conduct and substantial wage increases with Burger King, McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Long John Silvers, KFC and Whole Foods. It is an industry-side approach to putting an end to the horrific reality of forced labor and grinding poverty in Florida’s fields.

The new Community Center will house our first-ever anti-slavery office and enable us to greatly expand our non-profit food cooperative, a key institution in Immokalee’s farmworker community, and to professionally equip Radio Conciencia 107.9 FM, the CIW’s low-power, community radio station.

We are tremendously grateful for Ms. Dearborn’s gift toward our million-dollar capital campaign for the Community Center; her contribution covered expenses for beautiful landscaping, building a parking lot and fence, installing a sprinkler system and creating a community garden.

With $472,000 to go in completing the Capital Campaign for our Community Center, we invite anyone else who would like to visit our Center or make a donation to contact Jordan Buckley at 239-986 9101 or “mailto:Jordan@InterfaithAct.org”>Jordan@InterfaithAct.org. Tax-deductible contributions may be made out to “CIW” and mailed to CIW, P.O. Box 509, Immokalee, FL 34143.

We would also like to invite everyone out to the inauguration of our Community Center on Sunday, Nov. 30 at 3 p.m. (where you can also see the result of Ms. Dearborn’s generous contribution). For directions, contact Jordan at the number and e-mail provided above.

Once again, many thanks to Ms. Dearborn, and to Sanibel islanders in general, for your consistent support in helping to make our long-held dream a reality.


Lucas Benitez

Coalition of Immokalee Workers