Anti-Oppression Meeting Minutes - April 7, 2012

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Anti-Oppression Working Group April 7, 2012

Present: Angela, Seble, Greg, Michelle, Clyde,Andrea Facilitators: Firuzeh, Greg

Agenda Welcome & Introduction Ways of Being A/V equipment purchase Coalition of Immokalee Workers Intersectionality Exploration of Values Close (WoB & Appreciations)

The group approved the purchase of equipment in conjunction with the POC & Decolonize.

Coalition of Immokalee Workers- Elena Stein • 90% of tomatoes grown in Florida, in season, November – June. • Conditions in the field – subservient conditions, physical abuse, verbal abuse, sexual harassment – 90% of women report sexual abuse • Typical day – get up at 4am. Workers live in trailers, where 5 people live together, no air conditioning, one bathroom. • At 5 am, 1000’s of workers wait to be picked up in parking lot. They wait to be picked up by repainted school buses, who are a monopoly. • Crew leader picks workers - who gets picked? Stronger between 16-30 get picked. They are taken to fields that are 10min – 3hrs away. • In the fields, the workers get there early 7am and have to wait until 10-11am the dew dries because tomatoes have to be picked dry. • The tomatoes are sprayed with methyl bromide to turn them red, because they are green when picked. • The workers pick tomatoes to overfill in 32 lb buckets. They lift buckets on shoulders, run to the truck and dump them. They get 50cents a bucket. Workers pick and haul 2.5 tons of tomatoes every day – that’s equivalent to the weight of an elephant. That’s about 4 buckets /min. • In addition, pesticides are sprayed while pickers pick. • The Coalition – 15 years is enough. Want raise, better conditions, to be @ decision making table. • They went on a 30 day hunger strike. Developed popular theatre, video • Analyzed supply chain – crew leader → supervisor → grower→ retailer. Would get consumers, labor • Campaign for Fair Food – 10 yrs. 9 corporations signed. Taco Bell = national Boycott, after 4 yrs. they came to table. McDonalds = 2 yrs. ; Burger King = 1 yr.; Subway = 6 mos. Want to get food service (Sedexho, Armarak), providers (Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods) • Methyl bromide – causing holes in ozone. Methyl iodine – birth defects among children of farm workers. • Demands o 1cent more/pound; 50 cents = 32 lbs. o Only buy from friends w/ code of conduct w/ right to shade, water, complaint without fear of modern day slavery o Right to have a voice at the table – workers go out into fields + educate each other on their rights What are your intentions in connecting with OB Movement? • Coalition – farm workers on ppl with direct experience • Allies – w intersecting things that affect us, solidarity. Eg. Student – Just Harvest

What is the Decision making process? • Consensus based, consensus culture, common values • Helped by movies, • Organizers – staff members → weekly meeting (10 people) • Community Meetings - Theatre, video, question posing – Weekly (100 people) • Central Committee Meeting – every 6 mos. (40 people)

9 cases of slavery have actually been prosecuted in this country; another 1200 people are in debt bondage, chained.

Values There was a felt sense that the AOWG needed to get grounded in a set of shared values. We lifted up an initial list of values: • Accountability – being willing to follow the lead of communities most impacted when working on an issue • Solidarity • Humility for allies • Be willing to unlearn in order to learn • Make space

We discussed what values are and the challenge of trying to build agreement on a list of shared values: • integral to particular communities, we are plural human being • we work into a value by practicing it over time • you are not friends until you’ve had a fight and worked it out • values require conflict and testing to see if it’s a meaningful one for us • stated values are different than values in action – there is often a difference between what we say our values are and the values that are actually operating and informing our behavior. • it’s important that we spell out what we mean by the values we hope/plan to live into because words/concepts mean different things to different people