Why I’m Fasting Today

Today I’m eating no food. Here’s why.

I’m part of a 30 day “rolling fast” organized by the Alliance for Fair Food and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. Each day, a faith leader is fasting as an expression of human solidarity with farm workers – and as an expression of moral protest against Wendy’s Restaurants. We’re following in the footsteps of 19 college students from Ohio State who fasted for a full week earlier this year.

Many people still don’t know how often farmworkers around the country are mistreated. Farmworkers are among the hardest-working, lowest-paid, least-protected workers in the country. In recent years, the workers here in Florida, supported by faith leaders and many others, have created the Fair Food Program, a brilliant program that improves working conditions, improves pay, and protects workers from sexual harassment, exposure to dangerous chemicals, and more.

Many companies have signed on to this excellent, sensible program – including McDonald’s, WalMart, Taco Bell, and others, improving the lives of thousands of workers.

But a few holdouts like Publix and Wendy’s continue to refuse to participate. I’ve marched, preached, protested, and written against their immoral refusal … and today, I’m fasting and praying. Here’s how some fellow faith leaders expressed it in a letter to the Wendy’s board of directors:

“Wendy’s actions unequivocally fail the basic moral code that demands every single one of us work tirelessly for justice for all people on this Earth – and that unquestioningly prioritizes human life over corporate profits.  Communities of faith, workers, and consumers across the country will not allow such actions to go unanswered…”

Nearly every day of my life, I have eaten. But today, as I fast, I will pray …

I pray for Wendy’s employees and staff, that they will speak to their management and tell them they are ashamed to work for a company that doesn’t join a sensible program to help the people on whom their profits depend.

I pray that people like you will stop eating at Wendy’s until they change their ways.

I pray that all of us will learn to give thanks for every meal, thanking God for our food, for the good earth that produced it, and for the hardworking farmworkers who planted, tended, and harvested it.

My fast is a small act. But it strengthens my resolve to keep working and speaking out every day for the just, generous, and joyful world God desires for all of us – including my neighbors who are working hard in the fields even now. I hope you’ll join me.

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