March 14, 2014
Dear Mr. Crenshaw,
We write to you from the 58th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women to urge Publix to join the Fair Food Program. Here in New York, delegates from around the world have gathered to underscore the important role that women play in our food system, in economic development and in the well-being of our society. We know that improving conditions for women leads to improved conditions for all.
The Commission has recognized the vital role of women in achieving sustainable development and resolved to unlock the potential of women as drivers of sustainable development. The Commission further reaffirms that gender equality, the empowerment of women, women’s full enjoyment of human rights and the eradication of poverty are essential to economic and social development.
The Fair Food Program has already implemented these core commitments in a remarkable and vital way. For example, the Fair Food Program not only addresses sexual harassment in the fields, it also eliminates the conditions of poverty and fear of retaliation, which force women to choose between their dignity and putting food on the table for their families.
The Fair Food Program’s many dimensions reinforce rights that our sisters deserve and its market-driven enforcement is premised upon the participation of companies committed to human rights. It is hard for us to comprehend why Publix has not yet joined this proven program, particularly when competitors such as Wal-Mart and Trader Joe’s are already participating.
Publix has the opportunity to be among corporations helping to usher in a new day of corporate responsibility by supporting the Fair Food Program which has been lauded by the United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights and lifted up by the UN Global Compact as a model to be emulated world-wide. Indeed, we believe Publix not only has the opportunity, it has the responsibility for doing so lest it continue to profit from the poverty and vulnerability of farmworkers by failing to support the Fair Food Program.
As Presbyterians, as women and as people who believe you want to follow in the footsteps of George Jenkins and not let profit get in the way of doing the right thing, we urge you to sit down with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and bring Publix’s considerable power into the program which is doing such demonstrable good.
Presbyterian Women in the PC(USA), Inc.
Read by Rev. Noelle Damico at a vigil outside Southgate Publix, Lakeland, Florida