Black Brown Unity Coalition trip to Civil Rights Hub & Fields of North Carolina

Last week our Toledo staff and many members and friends headed to North Carolina on the Black/Brown Unity Coalition bus to the International Civil Rights Center and Museum in Greensboro, NC to learn about the struggle our black brothers and sisters endured, and continue to endure.

We then headed to the Beloved Community Center and Church with Rev. Nelson Johnson, his wife Joyce Johnson, Lewis Brandon, and Pastor Wesley Morris and executive members of the NC NAACP and also FLOC supporters. They made presentations about the history of Greensboro and the important role A&T University played and continues to play in the struggle for justice and civil rights. Presidente Velasquez made a presentation about FLOC and what we are up to. A Q &A followed.

All agreed that we must continue and strengthen our relationship because we have a lot to learn from one another and a lot in common.

We then went out to the fields of NC. Most of us could barely stand being outside in the suffocating 100 degrees heat for five minutes. Our members and others are in the tobacco fields, and other fields, all day long.

That night, we had a meal provided through the Triangle Friends of Farm workers. Thank you all! An immigrant woman who is taking sanctuary in a church cooked for us. What hospitality from her, the TFF, and our Dudley office staff and community members.

During our meal, one of our farm worker members, Francisco Javier, spoke about how much FLOC has done and why it is important for farm workers to unite with FLOC.

One of our African-American participants, Kasante, said she believed, after seeing what migrant farm workers go through, that this is the new slavery. Everyone was impressed by our members’ hard work and appalled by the work and living conditions they contend with to put food and tobacco on our table. FLOC has helped to make things better but there is so much to do!

All were thankful for FLOC’s work. Francisco Javier told us not to forget them. And to join in the marches, protests, and work. It strengthens them. They all said they’ll do what they can to join us in our boycotts!

Find out more about how you can participate at

Photo credits: All photos by Dora Rodela except for the food picture, members in the field, and the table of farm workers, in the Dudley office. Those credits belong to Jackkie and Chibuzo.

Have you ever seen a tobacco leaf? Here it is. Those who work in the fields often suffer from nicotine poisoning. It’s called Green Tobacco sickness.
Four of our newer members pose for a picture in front of one of the fields they harvest. Lack of rain means these tobacco plants aren’t growing as much.
Francisco Javier, one of our farm worker member leaders explaining to us the nature of his and our other members’ work in the tobacco fields. After they harvest tobacco they move on to sweet potatoes and Christmas trees.

El Salvadoran meal provided by a woman residing in a sanctuary church. Brought to us by the Triangle Friends of Farm workers. Thank you for the meal and your hospitality!
Some of our farm worker members managed to come to an evening reception hosted by our Dudley office. Many of them were still at work.

Living quarters of some of our farm worker members.
F.W. Woolworth – the site of the first lunch counter citizen. Now the International Civil Rights Museum and Center.
Leaders picking Presidente Velasquez’s brain about strategy (with Rev. Nelson Johnson)

We are introduced to some of the NC NAACP and Beloved Community Leaders. What a privilege!