On the days leading up to International Human Rights day, students, the faith community, and labor allies committed to standing up for the human rights of farmworkers throughout the tobacco supply chain.
Supporters gathered at local Kangaroo Express convenience stores in Raleigh, Chapel Hill, and Greensboro, sending a clear message to Kangaroo that they are part of the tobacco supply chain and are responsible when human rights abuses occur in that supply chain.
Catherine Crowe, a UNC student, expressed that she came out because she visited the fields this past fall. “While seeing the conditions of the camp and speaking with many of the farmworkers, it dawned on me how similar their living conditions are to that of former slaves. It angered me to see that while our country has made progress, racial and class inequalities are still perpetuated and exploited by our economic structure. I came to the action because as a consumer and activist, I refuse to accept the inhumane treatment of farmworkers,” she explained as supporters passing by honked their horns.
In Greensboro, the action kept a high spirit thanks to Cakalak Thunder who accompanied supporters with their energetic drumming. After making their presence known outside the Kangaroo Express situated at a busy intersection, a large delegation of supporters went inside to talk to the Kangaroo management.
Wesley Morris of the Beloved Community Center took the lead and explained to the managers, “We have been to these labor camps, we have been to the fields, we understand what the conditions are. It’s important that Kangaroo understands what is going on and takes action to stop these human rights abuses.” As we delivered the letter and supporters gathered outside the store they chanted, “ we’ll be back, we’ll be back” signaling to Kangaroo that they must respond to consumer concerns.