Stories on Fair Food, Human Trafficking, and 40 Acres of Hope

Greetings to you in the name of Jesus Christ
who is risen indeed. The season of Easter is a time when we practice a new way of life
in the risen Christ, who is everywhere at work in the world. Recently I was able to
welcome the Coalition of Immokalee Workers to the Presbyterian Center here in Louisville.
Our denomination was an early partner with the Coalition in their call for human rights
to protect farmworker freedom and dignity. They were here in Louisville urging the public
to boycott fast food chain Wendy’s until it signs on to the Fair Food Program. Wendy’s
is an interesting case because the farmworkers, the Coalition, has been trying to work with
them to get them on board with the Fair Food Program for a good 10 years. They’re the lone
holdout. The big fast food company that has not signed on. The Presbyterian Church has
been key to many really important moments in the campaign for fair food. During the
first agreement that we reached with Taco Bell they were basically pushing the corporation
to come to the table and join us in dialogue. After the first agreement with Taco Bell,
there’s been agreements with McDonalds, Burger King, Subway, Whole Foods, even Walmart came
on board. Since the implementation of the program there hasn’t been any single case
of slavery going on in any farms in the program. Thought the
Mission Agency, Presbyterians have been involved
in women’s empowerment and its link to sustainable development, as delegates to the United Nations
Commission on the Status of Women. At one of the many Commission events in New York
one lifetime Presbyterian showcased her new mobile game app, designed to keep children
and young adults from becoming victims of human traffickers. Our children are so vulnerable.
They’re sitting in classrooms with other children that are being trafficked. What this app does
is it gets kids before they are pulled into the situation. The app has lots of questions
that sort of work through a girl in a mall somewhere. It helps her identify who might
be a victim, who might be someone who is marginal that she should be aware of. Some of the biggest
recruiters are girls in high school. They’ve been put out and now they’re working for the
traffickers. They have to go recruit. These children are coming out of orphanages. They’re
being tortured, so all they know is to obey and do what they’re told. I mean, excuse me,
it just upsets me. The app itself is not going to fix the world’s problems. But what it is
going to do is make an inroad for young people to identify, and respond to trafficking in
a way that empowers, and gives them the ability to say no. Already it is translated into Spanish,
I could see it going into other languages. In fact, while we were there, people from
around the globe were asking about it, and wanting to have more access to it. I’m proud
that I’m Presbyterian. I’m so glad that we fight for, we fought for slavery, we fought
for women’s rights, we fought for LGBQT rights, and you know, unfortunately 150 years later
here we are fighting for slavery again. And it’s alive and thriving in this country. For
more than 30 years,The Campbell Farm in Washington State has been providing hands on mission
opportunities for thousands of young people. And a place of safety and refugee for families
living on or near the Yakama Indian Reservation. The farm is a safe place. It’s nice here.
If the Campbell Farm wasn’t here I don’t know where I’d be. When I came here I had no hope.
You know I was one of these kids. I grew up here. When Carmen became our director she
knew the need was great. It gets scary in our community at times. We often don’t know
where to go. They just needed a latch key program for these kids to be safe, and to
be nurtured, and loved. Who doesn’t need more love? The summer mission youth groups that
come, they realize if I was born more affluent, I should be responsible, to do more in my
life. The Campbell Farm is 40 acres. They are a window, a big window, into the lives
of people that live in the valley, and reservation. It’s a way to look out in the community and
to reach out to the community to serve the people in need. I don’t feel scared or nothing.
Like when I come out at night, like usually I’m like scared, shaky, but that was at old
house in White Swan. But now I’m just like, I walk outside, even when I have to take out
the garbage. When I grow up I want to take care of the farm. Thanks for engaging with
us in God’s mission for the transformation of the world. And may the peace of the risen
Christ be with you.

1 thought on “Stories on Fair Food, Human Trafficking, and 40 Acres of Hope

  1. So pleased to see PCUSA using this technology to tell the story! Also very happy that it is captioned so that all may have access to the story. At my end — video is a little blurry. Thanks again!

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