Pilgrimage for Peace and Justice Walks through Wilson
for Justice for Tobacco Farmworkers
People of faith from around the state of North Carolina joined with FLOC on Wednesday, April 4th, to walk for farmworker justice. Throughout the day the group visited the different levels of the tobacco supply chain to understand the economic chain of power that controls the tobacco industry.
First, we visited a tobacco grading station to see where thousands of pounds of tobacco are brought after harvest to be graded, priced, and sold. Then, we walked to a farm to learn about the perspective of a tobacco farmer who cannot continue to grow tobacco this year due to unsustainable costs. We then visited a farmworker labor camp, where we saw where the workers live during the season. Some workers who were walking with us described the strenuous nature and physical dangers of working in the tobacco fields, and the fear of speaking out against their employers.
We also had the privilege of sharing lunch with La Guadalupana Church, where we heard from the members of the Hispanic Ministry. They shared with us the great fear they have, as they are every day facing more discrimination and racism in their community. Here we made the powerful connection between the plight of the farmworkers and the everyday struggle of the Latino community at large. We were also able to share dinner with St. Therese Church’s Hispanic Ministry, where they graciously served us dinner while discussing their similar experiences and community involvement.
Thursday morning we visited the Corporate Headquarters of The Pantry, Inc. in Cary, NC to deliver a letter to CEO Edwin J. Holman. As the company that owns the Kangaroo stores, we asked them to use their influence to get Reynolds to sit down with farmworkers to improve conditions in the tobacco fields of North Carolina.
It was a powerful few days of the Pilgrimage. Thank you to all who participated to shed light on the many abuses plaguing the farmworkers and the greater Latino community! Hasta la Victoria!